More medical directors and doctors are saying hospitals must turn to social media – not just to help market and advertise their services, but to help further research on rare diseases.
For example, if it hadn’t been for a live Twitter chat facilitated by USA Today, a young woman might not have gone to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to undergo a special technique for treating a wrist injury. The woman had been suffering from debilitating wrist pain for the past five years. After participating in the Twitter chat, she was inspired to meet the doctor who fixes ulnotriquetral ligament tears.
The chat took place using a Twitter widget (such as http://tweetgrid.com/, http://hootsuite.com or http://www.Tweetdeck.com.) and involved the doctor who performed the procedure. Less than 24 hours after her initial appointment with the doctor, she not only had a new diagnosis – a UT split tear – but had surgery to correct the problem. All that was left was a short term festive green cast but also a future without chronic wrist pain!
Many doctors are using social media to help further rare disease research by using it to help recruit patients, which can be a challenge for uncommon ailments.