Real Time Medical Updates

If you happen to be reading this blog post on  August 18th 2009:

I am, right now, having my broken humerus surgically repaired.

While I am not looking forward to having the actual surgery and the pain that shall go along with it, there is one aspect that I find rather appealing:

I’m covering my Arm Surgery live via Social Media!

Ok, so technically, I’m not going to be using social media because I will be unconscious, but my husband will be Tweeting and Twit-Pic-ing throughout my surgery. His Tweets will streamed live to both my blog and my Facebook status so that “my people” can know my surgery status and then I’ll take over updating once I am with the living again.

I figure if Katie Couric can let the world view her first colonoscopy on the air in 2000, then I can fully incorporate social media into every aspect of my life, even the yucky parts.   I know I have read articles discussing how other patients have used various forms of blogs and social media to update friends and family members while in the hospital or while living with an illness. They report that it’s easy to share the news that way, their families feel connected and it’s not as exhausting telling everyone the same story over and over again. Like the story that is a perfect example of a family using Twitter to update everyone on a father son kidney transplant in Dallas.

With my surgery in mind, I started looking up ways that social media is successfully used in the medical field.  I found this really interesting site, “Found in Cache” which actually monitors for that exact question and according to their research as of this month: 351 Hospitals use social media:

  • 174 on YouTube
  • 253 on Twitter
  • 174 on Facebook
  • 31 Hospital Blogs

I also found that indeed some doctors are using Twitter during operations to broadcast their findings to other doctors.  The same blog reports of a Vasectomy Live on Twitter thought the hashtag and twitter stream seems to be now defunct. I have to admit that my Twittering during surgery is not 100% original.

Social media is also very successful in the medical field with promoting awareness and of course, the mass success of Facebook Causes.   Mashable had a great article with #FindingtheGood where they share five unique uses of social media for the social good.  In my experience, I have found that is one area where the internet use is very strong.  Living through a unique experience or situation usually changes one’s perspective and supplies them with unique feelings that are often not understood by their friends and family.  The introduction of the web has allowed people to hook up with others all over the world who are living thorough similar situation.  The validation and acknowledgement that comes with being understood by actual peers is invaluable when going though a crisis or trauma.

Cancer Patient meets Cancer Survivor, for instance.  Or, I have taken comfort in the true life knowledge that was on Valve Replacement Forum.  The ability to just reach out and be able to connect with real people who are currently experiencing or have lived through a similar circumstance is so needed.  That’s one of the reasons while so many support groups  have really taken off since the internet really got going!

Totally Incorporating Social Media

Part of the reason that I love my job is that I really get to live my job. This time, I am just taking it one step farther. For almost the past ten years, I have literally lived on the internet for fun anyway. If I wasn’t working on dealing with my kids, you would find me online. It was very natural to move from an internet email list, to early, but sadly now defunct, MSN groups to being a full on forum junkie, to a blogger and now onward to social media. I like to say I branded myself before I knew what it was.

For years, it was not called social media; it was just all about adoption. That’s what I knew, but through adoption research, I learned the internet.  Because anywhere someone was talking about adoption online; I went and built profiles, commented and posted.  I learned how to scope out and research communities.  I can judge which ones will be hostile environments and which ones are comfortable and accepting.

It was the birth of social media from the inside.  Honestly, it just morphed into a new name that everyone is abuzz of.  Social media is the same thing it always was; people connecting through online media.  We just have new toys with Facebook and Twitter. It’s just where everybody is doing it and it is streamed in faster.

Now, as the Director of Social Media at DragonSearch,  I consider myself very lucky that I still get to spend all my time online using the skills that I naturally amassed over the years to benefit our clients. Acquiring an iphone has taken that one step further to the point in which now, I am never unplugged.

Can’t unplug from Social Networks!

I take my position very seriously and update from the hospital and though my home bound recovery. I am secretly hoping that maybe my husband can watch the surgery and get a Twit Pic while my bones are exposed or something!   There is a chance that there might be more misspellings than usual due to medication and such, but I think the world will forgive me.

And if you want to know how the procedure is going:

Just search Twitter for #brokearm

This entry was posted on Monday, August 17, 2009 and is filed under Social Media in Marketing.

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