Social Media

  • Harris Lygidakis - .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Raquel Gomez Bravo - .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Phanish Chandra

The aim of the ISfTeH #SoMe Working Group is to encourage Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) to use Social Media meaningfully for the improvement of healthcare services and health.

Our mission is to provide support and means for HCPs that  facilitate the employment of Social Media in the everyday practice, the medical education and in various special interest projects, including those related to Public Health and chronic disease management, in partnership with patients, policy makers, the administration and the industry.




Session # 1 : 25th February 2015

An Introduction to Facebook for Health Professionals

Facebook is an underused and often misunderstood tool for health professionals. In different occasions, we had the opportunity to discuss with colleagues a broad array of issues related to its use:

  • it seems difficult to configure the security and privacy settings and there is low awareness of them;
  • there is no guarantee that the befriended person is really who you think he/she is;
  • the communication is carried out in a non-private (non HIPAA-compliant) environment where advertisement is ubiquitous;
  • people are unrestrained to say anything they want (aka the bad-mouthing scare and the bragging effect);
  • many workplaces still lack policies and others just block the access shortsightedly;
  • befriending patients and protecting their privacy causes anxiety and discomfiture;
  • there is dearth of time and the ROI is still questionable to many.

Some of these issues reveal a generic skepticism vis-à-vis the entire Social Media universe, and not only towards Facebook. As health professionals however, we are ethically and legally obliged to stay up-to-date with the most recent evidence and advances of our discipline. From the same standpoint, we also need to stay on guard for any changes that affect society, as they may influence our decisions ultimately; the Family Doctors who adopt the bio-psychosocial model in their practice should understand this. Hence, if our patients are on Social Media or will use whatever will be the next big thing in communication, we should adopt an exploratory and diligent attitude and potentially (but not unconditionally) employ the new tool.

Facebook (and by extension Social Media) should not be considered as a mere technological means, but should be seen through the prism of our professionalism and social responsibility. We need to consider it as a professional and strategic tool and as such, it is of utmost importance to study its manual and code of conduct very carefully before using it (or to paraphrase John C. Dvorak, a license should be necessary). Wouldn’t we do the same with our newly acquired EKG device?
Raquel Gomez Bravo and Harris Lygidakis, alongside the support of the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (ISfTeH), piloted an introductory webinar on Facebook with the objective to raise awareness and help our colleagues. If you weren't able to join it, you can now view the recording and learn the basics to kick off your journey on Facebook:




"#Med-e-Tel : The Twitter Hashtag"