In the past, communication with those who were ill, especially during a pandemic, required personal contact. Nowadays, says Dr Ryan Shelton, the range of social media platforms has become limitless and has been used to help healthcare workers communicate more efficiently with their patients through various methods.
There are many examples on social media platforms where healthcare providers have used them to diagnose possible diseases quickly. For example, Dr. Neha Mehta of Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center diagnosed a patient using nothing but what he saw from a simple selfie posted on Facebook. In addition to diagnosis – doctors have also been able to check on progress by viewing pictures of patients uploaded on Instagram.
Health care workers have also used Facebook to keep family members informed of their loved ones’ status. Providing real-time updates is very convenient for friends and family members who are not in the area or unable to make a personal visit.
Here are five ways social media has helped healthcare workers during the pandemic.
Doctors can diagnose a patient by just looking at their picture on social media sites. We share a wealth of information about ourselves online. Sometimes this might be information we neglect to tell a doctor, such as a trip we took somewhere or an activity we might not have thought was relevant.
According to Dr Ryan Shelton, some doctors are now using social media to map a timeline of patient activities or complaints about symptoms that they might not have been aware of. For example, a patient might start complaining of more severe symptoms weeks after returning from a trip to the Caribbean.
Doctors can make real-time diagnoses by viewing pictures of patients uploaded on Instagram. This is a great way for someone not in the area to view and confirm what they’re seeing.
A doctor diagnosed a patient just by triaging her symptoms from Facebook and other social media sites. Not only that, but he ensured she had access to medicines due to her financial situation.
In some situations, doctors have used Instagram to check up on how others are responding to medication which is helpful when considering whether or not certain medications will work on a patient with similar symptoms as others who have been tested successfully before them.
Keeping Patients & Families Informed
Healthcare workers have used social media to keep family members informed of their loved ones’ status. Many people would rather not know all of the details about an ill family member if it means they are uncomfortable with the situation. Using Facebook allows friends and family members who are not in the area or unable to make a personal visit and peace of mind by quickly seeing updates firsthand.
Since information is so freely available on these sites, many doctors now use health websites and social media sites to help create a timeline for their patients. Creating this timeline allows them to check symptoms and diagnoses almost instantly using images uploaded onto social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. These sites can provide real-time updates, which is very convenient for friends and family members who are not in the area or unable to make a personal visit.
Providing Employers & Patients Updates on Employees’ Conditions
In many cases, says Dr. Ryan Shelton, healthcare workers have used social media during outbreaks to inform co-workers about their current condition. This can allow employers to make informed decisions about their employees and workplace safety and provide support for co-workers who might be dealing with anxieties related to an illness that a fellow employee or friend is experiencing.
Employers have also used social media sites to inform patients of the status of their healthcare providers during outbreaks. Many patients would prefer not to know all of the gory details if they are uncomfortable with the situation.
Patients often check Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, to gain insight into what is happening in their community, news events around the world, or even delays on public transportation through social media alerts. Using these platforms allows doctors and hospitals to reach out to their communities regarding
Twitter has been used for direct notification of patients during outbreaks. For example, when an individual is diagnosed with Ebola, they must tweet the news, allowing family members to make informed decisions about coming in contact with them.
Healthcare workers have also used Twitter during outbreaks to inform the public without infringing on patient privacy. This is helpful for friends and families of ill individuals or highly contagious individuals who need to be quarantined.
The use of social media can play a critical role in allowing for faster, easier, and more effective sharing of information among healthcare workers, which could have a significant impact during future and current medical crises.