#MDigitalLife is a WCG program designed to learn from and to showcase physicians who are blazing new trails in the digital world – changing the way that medicine is practiced and better health is realized. You can find previous posts here.
When I started using twitter in 2008, I was amazed at how easy it was to connect with other folks who were beginning to think about the intersection of healthcare and social media. I’m happy to say that I am still in touch with many of those folks – Mark Hawker, John Moore, Bob Coffield, Marty Trussell, Holly Potter and Dana Lewis, to name a few. One of those twitter pioneers – and one of my first online friends – is a doctor who has inspired thousands with his groundbreaking work – Dr. Bertalan Mesko (more commonly known on the social web as “Berci”). Every doctor in this program has the opportunity to choose the medium for their interview – and Berci chose a Q&A format. So without further ado, meet one of the world’s leading thinkers on digital medicine.
Berci graduated from the University of Debrecen, Medical School and Health Science center in 2009 and started PhD in the field of clinical genomics. He is the managing director and founder of Webicina.com LLC, the first free medical social media guidance service for patients and medical professionals. He speaks at prestigious conferences; covers online international events and is a health 2.0 consultant for pharma and medical companies. Healthspottr.com included him in the Future Health Top 100 list.
He is the author of the award-winning medical blog, Scienceroll.com and the educator of the Medicine and Web 2.0 university credit course which is the first of its kind worldwide.
He is often sought out by the media for his expertise, and has been featured in publications as diverse as Nature Medicine, the New York Times, Al Jazeera, British Medical Journal and Wired Science, among others. He is a member of the Kairos Society.
Berci: I have different audiences in different channels. On my blog, Scienceroll.com, my audience consists of medical professionals, students and nurses. On Twitter, I talk to everyone from e-patients to doctors. On Webicina.com, we create curated selections of social media resources focusing on different medical conditions or specialties for patients and professionals as well. Whenever I post something online, I choose the language, wording, links, etc. in order to fit the needs of my audience. Twitter requires fast interaction with pieces of information; Facebook is more about slow interaction, while a blog is like a public CV.
Greg: What’s your most effective method/channel for reaching that audience?
Berci: Even if I make the most contacts and have the more interactions on Twitter these days; I still believe my blog is my major platform. Whenever someone makes a search for my name, they will find my blog in the first place which I’m glad of as I control the information being published about me online. But to properly reach my audience, I need to use several tools such as Friendfeed, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Youtube, Google+, etc. And I have to pay attention to avoiding the overlap of the content I publish in these channels.
Greg: What is the biggest danger facing physicians using social media?
Berci: I always tell my students whatever content they publish online will hunt you down. When I publish as a doctor online, I ask myself a question: Do I mind if this content is seen by millions of people? So to sum it up, the biggest concern is privacy. Doctors must learn how they can interact with their patients online. If I don’t want to share photos from my vacation with my patient at the grocery store, why I would do the same on Facebook by making my photos public? I help medical students know more about these issues in my course at the university which I will make globally public this February.
Greg: Are there any absolute do’s and don’ts you’d like to share?
Berci: We just published an open access social media guide for and about pharma in which we included a list of suggestions regarding what medical professionals should and should not do in social media.
Greg: What do you want the doctors of the future to know about the future of doctoring?
Berci: Recently, I published 7 features of the new generation of physicians in which I described the main points about these young students and doctors. In a nutshell, they are fast, mobile, technophile, balances, and online.
Greg: What communication devices do you use?
Berci: I have an Android smartphone and a Samsung Galaxy Tab.
A huge thanks to Berci for his participation. Make sure to follow his work:
My company: http://www.webicina.com/
My blog: http://scienceroll.com/
My Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/Berci
And a sample from his reading list: