Doctors use of social mediaJust recently, one of Vanessa DiMauro’s best friends, a world-famous rheumatologist, asked her to demonstrate Twitter. They quickly found a number of key opinion leaders in the rheumatologist’s field with Twitter accounts.

DiMauro, CEO of Boston’s Leader Networks, a B2B online community strategies company, has a nice post this morning, The Rise of the Digital Doctor, about the increasing use of social media by medical professionals.

Interestingly, doctors are drawn to social media for the same reason as many lawyers. For networking, knowledge, and collaboration.

A doctor’s professional survival — and that of his patients — requires constant attention to new developments, continuing education and peer networking and collaboration. They need information from experts and peers to ensure they have the most current data to support patient care. Online access offers the fastest and most efficient way to do this. As anyone who has ever tried to call a doctor can attest, they are rarely available by phone. Professional private networks and social collaboration tools provide the means to connect and collaborate when it is most convenient — often after hours or on weekends.

It’s not just a few doctors using social media, it’s nearly all of them – at least for personal purposes.

In a Sept. 26, 2011 article, the American Medical Association’s amednews.com reported nearly all doctors in the US are now on social media. The article cites a study by research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan conducted between April and May, 2011, which found that 84% of doctors use social media for personal purposes. In August, a survey by QuantiaMD found nearly 90% of physicians reported using at least one social media site personally.

But it’s not just personal use that’s drawing so many doctors to social media and networking.

Physicians’ need for the most current information plus peer-peer networking for ideas and collaboration, coupled with easy-to-use mobile technologies such as smart phones and tablets (iPads) are driving this rapid adoption rocket!……Access to up-to-the-minute new drug and treatment information is another reason why doctors are pushing themselves to get online. In FY2011, the FDA approved a record number of new medicines and devices. A recent survey by Manhattan Research found physicians prefer to receive the majority of their pharmaceutical and device product information through online sources.

Social media and social networking for lawyers has been labeled by many as solely a medium for marketing and business development. Not so.

Like doctors, a lawyer’s ability to do top shelf work demands attention to developments in the law and industries they represent, continuing education, peer networking, and collaboration. Lawyers using social media and social networking know how well these mediums work for such professional development.

And after all, isn’t it the best lawyers who do stay up to speed, network, and collaborate who develop the strongest word of mouth reputations?

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