Social Media has become an important part of our lives. Although it is used for a wide range of reasons, many people have not fully embraced the benefits of following social media physicians.
Although it was initially used as a way to connect with families and friends, social media blossomed into everyday use to follow celebrities, politicians and news reporters. The different media platforms allow us to stay in the know with events in real time. We seem to value their opinions and interpretation of the facts.
By reading or listening to the opinions of others, we are each able to form our own opinions. I believe the same holds true for healthcare.
Just because a celebrity says she has a favorite way to treat allergies doesn’t mean that should be your way. Additionally, you should not choose to skip recommended vaccines just because a celebrity decided not to vaccinate his kids.
The backbone of the medical field is that our recommendations are based on standardized research and scientific analysis.
We also understand that one treatment does not work for everyone. But always remember that physicians make recommendations based on the results of research and the experience of many people.
Physicians do NOT make recommendations based on what they have seen work on their family or friends. We are regular people who experience health issues in ourselves and in our families. And each of us also has the right to choose a non-standard treatment.
But we absolutely understand which choices are based in fact and which are based on a feeling or what our grandmothers told us.
Yes, I use Vicks to treat a cold, and I know it does not do much more than to soothe an irritated respiratory tract. I also know it does not absorb into the skin, so it makes no sense to me when I hear others rub Vicks on the soles of their feet. The science matters even when we choose to use non-traditional treatments.
Although you may not agree with a recommendation from your personal physician, I do not think your final decision should be based on opinions from only non-medical sources.
For instance, when a celebrity tells you that a stone egg inserted into your body treats anything, you need to find some real science to prove that to be true.
Many physicians work at hospitals where they teach and train young physicians. They routinely attend conferences and meetings to get the latest recommendations. When this up to date knowledge is shared online, everyone benefits from these social media physicians.
As a private practice physician specialist, with nearly 30 years of experience, I started using my blog and social media to share my knowledge. My followers seem to appreciate my input and have started asking me things about health issues I do not treat. I have referred them to their personal physicians, but also directed them to social media physicians who post about topics in those areas.
An important fact that everyone needs to know is that social media physicians ONLY present personal opinions. Our posts should NEVER be taken as direct medical advice but should be used as a starting point to have a conversation with your personal physician.
Each of us has the right to choose the healthcare options that we want, just like we choose the parenting practices we want. But when you research parenting practices, don’t you check the person’s experience and credentials? The same should hold true for healthcare.
You need to understand who is giving you input and why their opinion about healthcare is more important than yours, your neighbor’s or your grandmothers. Do they have any actual healthcare training?
Different people that you meet in a healthcare setting have different levels of training and experience. Just like you need to know the background and training of a social media physician, you should always ask for the credentials of any real-life doctor or physician who is treating you.
Once you understand who is treating you and their experience, you can then decide how you choose to accept or not accept their recommendation. Please note that many social media people who post about health actually have no formal medical training.
These types of social media people may work out, eat well and look fabulous! They are often called health “influencers” which is not the same as a physician who shares knowledge about health. In fact, Thrive Global shared how these influencers can actually make you feel worse about yourself.
Everyone follows a wide range of people on different social media platforms. But, it can be hard to find “good” people to follow who share content that you might be interested in. Because I was in this situation 2 years ago, trying to connect with a large variety of mommy bloggers, I know many people have no idea how to connect and follow active social media physicians.
Today, I am creating a starter list of some social media physicians who regularly share posts related to healthcare. I highly recommend you take a look and check out some of these people who may help you better understand your health.
Awesome social media physicians to follow
Tweetiatricians (Pediatricians who tweet!)
Whew! How was that for a first pass at trying to get you connected to some awesome social media physicians? Most physicians actually have several social media platforms, and you can find them by clicking on their information links.
There are so many more names that I could add to this list, but this is it for now. Physicians follow lots of other physicians, so if you check out their follow lists, you can also find more in different specialties that might interest you.
Now, because I am having a bit of FOMO and want to be included in the awesome social media physicians club, let me quickly add my platforms so you can follow me on your favorite one: Facebook l Instagram l Twitter l LinkedIn l Pinterest l Podcast.
Over time, I would love to grow this list, so definitely shoot me a message or email to let me know how to improve the list. Physicians, if you have an active social media platform that you want to be shared, let me know. The goal is to help everyone to find more sources to get quality healthcare information.
One last thing, I need to make a disclaimer that I do not endorse or personally vouch for everything that each social media physician posts! We are each free to pick and choose who we want to follow, so check them out and follow the ones that seem to speak to you!
As always, much love for supporting my work. I will be adding many more posts to highlight parenting and healthcare tips, so be sure to consider subscribing to my podcast or to my blog to avoid missing a post!
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Great article! Thank you for the mention, Dr. Burton! I am passionate about helping patients and family caregivers navigate the healthcare system and I appreciate the wonderful information you share on your blog.
You are providing valuable information that many people need to know about. Keep up the great work!
I most certainly DO follow some awesome physicians!!! Because I am interested in what they’re talking about 🙂
WooHoo! This is so great to hear. We all follow a wide range of people and it is important to have a good list of resources for you to compare information. You just cannot beat physicians for having a great base to collect health information. I hope this list gives many other choices.