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A Smart Approach To Medicine And Social Media

Posted on August 29, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

It’s always a pleasure to touch base with the thoughtful blog  (33 Charts) written by pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Bryan Vartabedian. This time, I caught a piece on how Dr. Vartabedian handles social media communication with patients, and I thought it was well worth a share.

While your mileage may vary, here’s some key ways Dr. Vartabedian handles medical contact online with consumers:

* He never answers patient-specific questions from strangers

As he notes, people generally ask two kinds of questions, patient-specific and non-patient specific. While he’s glad to answer general questions, he never answers patient-specific ones from strangers, as it could be construed that he’s created a professional relationship with the person asking the question.

* He guides patients he’s treating offline

If an existing patient messages Dr. Vartabedian, he messages back that he’d be happy to do a phone call. He then addresses their concern via phone, while explaining to patients how both he and they could face serious privacy issues if too much comes out online. Oh, and most importantly, he documents the phone encounter, noting that the patient who reached out in  public.

* He flatly turns down requests for info from people he loosely knows

The only exception he makes is for family and very close friends.  In those cases he arranges evening phone time and spends 45 minutes getting facts so he can offer high-quality direction.

I really like the way Dr. Vartabedian has outlined his options here — it’s clear, simple, and virtually impossible to misunderstand.  It’s hard to imagine anyone being offended by these policies, or more importantly, having their privacy violated.  Good to see!

If you’re a doctor how do you handle your social media interactions with patients?

Healthcare Twitter Roundup

Posted on May 1, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

It’s that time again for a quick roundup of some interesting tweets happening out their in the wonderful twittersphere.


This series of responses made me laugh. Mostly because my response was totally facetious (and just like me in real life). I wouldn’t have said it if it were true. 33 Charts is an amazing blog. Especially if you love social media and healthcare.


Since we’re talking social media and healthcare, this tweet seemed appropriate. I love when people say that they don’t like Twitter because they don’t care what someone ate today. My do people that say such things not understand the real power of social media. I sum it up by saying that Twitter is amazing at connecting people.


Fine, if @ahier and @janicemccallum say I must read it I will. Although, I’ll actually book mark and and post about it later.


I’m a sucker for charts. These are quite interesting. At least if you care about the costs of healthcare and where the money is spent.


I’m not sure if I’m ready to usher in the digital pen and paper technology as the path to meaningful use. Although, many of you will likely remember how much I enjoyed Shareable Ink when I first saw it.


I’m not sure about the article, but I love the commentary on blogging. I love the comments on the blog. They definitely do a great job of balancing out and mistakes in my posts. Not that I’ve ever created a “biased post.” Not me;-)