The Beginning of a Beautiful (Un)friendship

Haydn Bush wrote a good post over at Hospitals & Health Networks, Tweet To Patients ASAP, But Don’t Let Your Docs ‘Friend’ Them

In many ways, I believe we’ve given ourselves a good head start in social media at OSU Medical Center through early adoption (YouTubefacebooktwitter and the like) and setting up a sensible social media policy. We have been successful in building large, active communities. But, it is certainly an evolving landscape, particularly in terms of distributing medical advice and how healthcare providers can best respond to questions from patients or future patients.

There’s no doubt that our social media presence has benefited our organization. People have moved beyond simply being satisfied with instant access to information; they now have a desire for instant dialogue, and it’s simply good customer service to engage people in the way they seek engagement.

We learn as we go, but must always be mindful of HIPAA and our patients’ right to privacy, regardless of how openly they choose to communicate.


One response to “The Beginning of a Beautiful (Un)friendship

  1. Dr. Gabbe,
    This will probably be our most difficult task when it comes to using social media. We can do many things with digital tools and cool technology that connect our patients and employees to better care. However, unless we find a way to better connect with them as people, we may miss the ultimate power of what social media can do.

    Bryan Vartabedian, MD ( has been using social media for years. He writes a great blog about some of the more difficult things we deal with in the intersection of professional and patient. Recently, he wrote this post ( about doctor and patient boundaries. It’s a good practical way to look at how the relationship might work. He has a whole category of posts on the topic:

    I think we need to continue to move this discussion forward so that each of our physicians can begin to understand their responsibility in this space and that our patients and physicians can start to see the benefit of a beautiful (professional) friendship.

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