Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why Palliative Care Needs Social Media

[ATTENTION: If you are apathetic or antagonistic towards social media of if I (or someone else) have ever turned you off with all this social media talk, I beg you to please read this one blog post if you care an ounce about hospice and palliative medicine.]

[DISCLAIMER: Yes I am giving a webinar in a July 21st with CAPC on social media in palliative care, and yes I would encourage you and your team/agency to sign up. And I hope this post tells you why you should do that.]

Now that we have that stuff out of the way, I will ask you one simple question to show you why you should be part of a palliative care movement with social media.

Have you ever wondered (aloud or to yourself) why people never hear or understand about hospice and palliative care until you have to explain it to them?
If you can honestly say 'No, I have never thought that." then you clearly do not work in hospice or palliative care.  Otherwise the answer is yes, and here are the reasons you need to be engaged. Help spread the word about the good work you and your peers accomplish every day.  Find interesting journal articles and pass them on to a wider audience.  Vote up news articles that feature HPM issues, share them on Facebook.  Get other people to spread the word for you by making it easier to share.  And you can do this all in just a few minutes each day.

Seriously, while you are waiting for the elevator/cab/family meeting, pull out your smartphone and Tweet or Digg or Facebook about HPM.  You do not have to be a power user like me or Diane Meier or Ashton Kutcher*. If 30% of the 43,000 NHPCO members, 4,100 AAHPM members and unknown numbers of HPNA members made a concerted effort to link together on social media, we could make a colossal impact.  So far we are one of the more coordinated specialties out there and we are barely even scratching the surface of possibilities.  Just to demonstrate how important I think this is I am making social media competency an early part of the fellowship curriculum this year.

So think about that CAPC webinar and stay tuned for more reasons why you can do your part to educate the public with a few clicks in addition to the intense one-to-one education you do in your daily work.**


Related Pallimed posts on the impact of social media in our field

* Last time you will see those three names together...until we star in Harry Potter 8: The Krakken Takes Manhattan, opening in theaters Summer 2012
**By the way the webinar is discounted compared to the regular price so we can get more people to participate and therefore make a wider social impact.  The power of the network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users (Metcalfe's Law) (see image below featuring telephones from Wikipedia for a graphic representation of Metcalfe's law.)