Health Care Industry, Patients Begin To Embrace Social Media

The health care industry is turning to social media to transform the access, delivery and dissemination of health information, the Jacksonville Business Journal reports.

Four years ago, the Mayo Clinic entered the world of Health 2.0 with the launch of a podcast. Since then, Mayo Clinic has added:

  • A Facebook page with more than 3,000 friends;
  • A YouTube channel featuring videos of physicians discussing illnesses, treatments and research;
  • A health blog for consumers; and
  • A blog aimed at the media to improve the process of medical reporting.

Mayo Clinic also is creating "secret groups" on Facebook that let patients connect with other users with similar illnesses.

Other Efforts

Meanwhile, CDC, Partners HealthCare System and Cigna have launched pilot projects to test scenarios and study health behavior in Second Life, a virtual world.

The American Red Cross is using Twitter, a micro-blogging service, to post regular updates on storms and natural disasters.

Physicians also are turning to Web 2.0 technology. Social networking Web sites, such as Medscape and Sermo, lets doctors engage in online discussions with one another. Both sites are exclusive to verified physicians.

Patients also are embracing social networking Web sites. One site, called, lets patients chat and blog about their illness, offer recommendations to other users and create a mood diary to track symptoms (Morrison, Jacksonville Business Journal, 1/20).

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