A new article in the Medical Connectivity section of the latest issue of Telemedicine and e-Health investigates Twitter’s emergence as a potentially valuable means of real-time, on-the-go communication of health care information and medical alerts.
According to the Web site, Twitter is “A real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices.”
The new article explains that physician groups, hospitals, and health care organizations are realizing a range of ways to use Twitter to communicate timely information within the medical community and to patients and the public.
The short messages, or "Tweets," go out from a single sender to a group of recipients simultaneously. Authors of the new article see this as having obvious advantages for sharing time-critical information such as disaster alerts and drug safety warnings, tracking disease outbreaks, or disseminating health care information.
Twitter allows users to find out about clinical trials and receive health news alerts from the health care publications and government agencies.
The authors caution that the use of social media and Internet-based outlets such as Twitter to communicate medical information requires a high degree of caution, however. For example, users of the outlets need to be sure to preserve confidentiality and patient privacy in the clinical care setting and ensure that information sources are accurate, reliable, and current.
Telemedicine and e-Health is the peer-reviewed official journal of the American Telemedicine Association.