Aug 1, 2013
International Wound Journal
Social media is commonplace in everyday life, particularly with the younger generation. This generation uses social media applications to both communicate and also to be connected to friends and family alike. In health care, individuals, especially patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, can feel isolated and alone, feeling like the only person who has such health-related issues. This often drives such individuals to Internet-based resources to inform, educate and engage. Clinicians only become aware of the dangers of such information when patients who come seeking help are armed with their latest ‘Internet wisdom’. Today, such individuals sometimes use Twitter and Facebook for social connection to feel a sense of belonging and less anxiety of loneliness, as well as to share their collective experiences and ‘Internet wisdom’ – peer to peer. As professionals in this arena, is the time right for specific ‘social interaction’ vehicles to allow connectivity for persons with wounds, including professionals involved in their care? Can such an approach provide a more directive ‘Internet wisdom’, where the sharing of experiences and wisdom would be more appropriate? Can we use a social media approach, which allows connectivity, discussion and sharing of experiences within a private community? Can such an approach allow connectivity, and also the sharing and ranking of information within the system, providing information relevancy and legitimacy? Can such an approach allow integration to both Twitter and Facebook to allow ‘viral’ marketing of new and important content and events? Perhaps a more profound question is if we need to increase the engagement between patients and their caregivers: do we need to influence their ‘social interaction’ when it comes to wound care? For example, if a person with a wound, or a professional caregiver, discovers an important piece of information that could be of use to others, how should this be validated and then communicated to others? All these are important questions to consider, but in this age of social media and Internet information, we may have little choice if we are to ensure a more informed wound care environment, particularly as the current youth becomes the next generation of health care providers. And those of us not fully engaged in the current social media trend will become the patients requiring the knowledge and interaction. It is a changing world requiring a change in approach.