Interview with Farris K. Timimi, Medical Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media
Why has healthcare, a profession that has roots firmly planted in the power of communication, been so reluctant to consider social networking and social media as forms of engagement? Whenever I visit with providers and organizations that seem hesitant to explore social networking, they usually share a series of reasons for their hesitancy, all of which fall into a broad category that I refer to as “what ifs.” What if we have a patient privacy violation? What if social media access makes our employees less efficient and productive? What if my already extensive clinical time demands prevent me from participating in social media? What if a mistake happens, and it is digitally advertised to a much larger audience? What if poor “phone hygiene” affects clinical care? (This brings to mind the seemingly common image of the intern who spends the bulk of morning rounds on a smartphone.)
Fundamentally, these potential concerns, these “what ifs,” and our resultant reluctance to meet our patients where they are spending the majority of their time, do more than limit our capacity for engagement.
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