Healthcare Blog of Dr. Remo Aguilar

Should health care professionals in developing countries have a social media presence?

in Education/Medicine/Social Media by

The short answer is yes, they  should. Consider this:

The Philippines, a developing country, is the social networking capital of the world. It tops the list of nations who uses Facebook. Or before Facebook, Philippines also topped the list of nations using Friendster.

1. Philippines
> Facebook: 93.9%
> Twitter: 16.1%
> LinkedIn: 1.9%
> Internet Use: 29.7%

Social network penetration is incredibly high in the Philippines, reaching 95%.  Facebook is the country’s most popular website, more so than Google, and has a penetration rate of 93.9%.  The Philippines is also the eighth most popular country for Twitter use on a global scale, with a penetration rate of 16.1%.  The popularity of photo sharing has increased by 46% in the country in one year, largely due to Facebook.  Social networking is so popular among Filipinos, the country has been nicknamed “The Social Networking Capital of the World.” –The Ten Nations Where Facebook Rules the Internet | 24/7 Wall Street

Infographic from this site ( http://internacionalmagazine.com/2011/03/comscore-has-crowned-philippines-as-the-world%E2%80%99s-heaviest-users-of-facebook/1490/

Also, most of the other nations in the list are developing countries in Latin America and South East Asia. These  social media platforms are good mediums for health education and should augment health drives using traditional media.

Medical information through the internet is readily available and fast. Most of informed patients nowadays get their medical information through the internet. Also, most of this informed patients (or their relatives, guardians etc.) also maintain a social media presence in facebook, twitter or in a blog. The multiplier effect of posting it on your facebook profile is just way beyond that can be achieve by traditonal means, like books.

Interactivity is fast, patient questions can be addressed rapidly and doubts can be clarified and , it is a good jumping off for a “real” clinic consult. The potential for  improving physician-patient relationship and interactions using social media is enormous. Not taking on this opportunity simply deprive the already shortchanged health education in developing nations.

Is this enough reason for you to act now and have your social media presence be felt?

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is Chief of Clinics at General Santos Medical Center and Medical Specialist II Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (www.remomd.com).

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