Making Magic – With Doctors, Social Media, and Rules?

harry-potter2Photo courtesy of

By Sven Larsen (@zemoga)

Sometimes we get so focused on social media guidelines for ourselves as Pharma marketers that we dont always notice when something very interesting happens, and our neighbors set up some guidelines of their own….which is precisely what the American Medical Association has done. Here’s a little summary for you:

  1. Keep your privacy settings on high;
  2. Routinely check that whats online about you is accurate and appropriate;
  3. Handle yourself online as professionally as you do offline;
  4. Realize that online activity can have real, and bad, real-world repercussions; and,
  5. When you see people doing wrong, tell.

Id suggest that everyone always follow the AMAs social-media guidelines, wouldnt you?

Many times, when we do get outside our own silos enough to notice these bits of news, we see regulations like these and we think oh, another set of rules. But these are interesting, not just because theyre so close to our work. Theyre interesting because theyre also reflective of the fact that 15% of U.S. hospitals now use social media.

Doctors and patients communicate; fund-raisers are bolstered with online activity; news is tweeted and posted on Facebook. Hospital personnel are being trained as social media managers. And, as we see, doctors are being educated. This might seem bureaucratic, but I think its really pretty breathtaking.

Many times, we think were living through just another day at work. Nothing too special. But then we see days like the one this August, when we watched the Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center live-tweet a double-hand transplant surgery. Truly exceptional days. Days we couldnt possibly have dreamed up just a few years ago. Days in which digital communications make unbelievable things possible.

There are definitely many rules that make things more complex, not less – make work harder to do, not easier. But then you see sets of eminently sensible rules, like these – and you see amazing bits of communication like the Jewish Hospitals – and, well, maybe its because I just saw the latest Harry Potter movie, but I cant help thinking that people are really making magic happen. Lets keep it up, folks.




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