The World Of An Offline Physician

There are more and more articles surfacing on physicians’ online presence and how doctors could become irrelevant with staying away from online platforms and social media. In a time when almost every patient comes to the office with diagnoses printed out from Google, when you have to consider providing patient health record online, when your colleagues get the latest news in medicine on their smartphones while you wait for the latest journal to be published – I don’t quite understand why anyone has to be convinced that online presence and being up-to-date with the latest mobile technologies are crucial.

But let’s get back to the examples. It is a well-known fact that patients Google their symptoms. They look for treatment options and find other people with similar conditions online. They connect and exchange information. It is also not hard to imagine how much false information could be published online. The accurate data could be misinterpreted, misplaced or in some cases accuracy is not there to begin with. Chances are that your patient is going to come to the office with numerous questions about what he/she read online. Some of them will be convinced that online information is sacred and always right on point. If you are not familiar with the medical information published online, how are you going to prove your point? How are you going to respond to the patient asking about a treatment that thousands of people blog about but you have never heard of.

How are you going to keep up with your colleagues when in your coffee break they talk about the newest medical application that allows them to look up drug interactions in a few seconds? How do you stay on top of your life long studying if only a fraction of the information is available to you because you refuse to add online content to your sources? How are you going to recommend easy to use medical applications to monitor health to your patients when you still can’t use the application store and never downloaded a health app?

How are you going to compete with other practices that connect with patients online. How are you going to keep up with doctors who have hundreds of followers and fans on Twitter and Facebook. How are you going to get hired when the other applicants have a detailed LinkedIn page and connected with their future boss online a long time ago.

I’m not saying you know less as a doctor without an online presence or a smartphone. I’m only saying that your knowledge can’t be used as effectively simply because you don’t use the channels that patients use. Your knowledge has to be communicated to benefit patients, therefore you have to go where patients are. They are surfing the net, using health apps and social media platforms to get the most valuable medical information. Also, you have to stay connected with your fellow physicians who more and more go online to stay informed and make their careers a successful one.

(Source: MedCityNews.com)

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