More hospitals, health care professionals and patients are turning to the online social media tool Twitter to disseminate and collect health information, according to an article published recently in Telemedicine and e-Health, USA Today's "Science Fair" reports.
In the article, author Mark Terry cites 10 medical uses for Twitter recommended by Phil Baumann, a health and social media blogger and former clinical nurse. According to Baumann, medical professionals and patients can use Twitter for:
- Biomedical device data capture and reporting;
- Diabetes management;
- Diagnostic brainstorming;
- Disaster alerts and response;
- Disease tracking and resource connection;
- Dissemination of infant care information;
- Drug safety alerts from FDA;
- Post-discharge consultations and follow-up;
- Shift-bidding for health workers; and
- Smoking cessation support.
In addition, services such as TrialX use Twitter to help patients connect with clinical trials (Vergano, "Science Fair," USA Today, 8/24).
Despite Twitter's potential to transform health care communication, experts warn that the tool has certain limitations.
They recommend that Twitter users exercise caution in order to preserve patient confidentiality and ensure the accuracy of data sources (United Press International, 8/25).