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Social Media and Health: opportunities for Pharmacists

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The authors advocate for an engagement of Pharmacists into new technologies.

Some findings:

Social media resources such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube offer several unique features that may be used to advance the role of pharmacy in health care initiatives. Coupled with patient behaviors and desires, these technologies are stimulating a move toward more open and transparent access to health information.

 Health information accessed on the Internet appears to be well trusted by users. (…) As opposed to other platforms that may engage large audiences (e.g., television, radio), social media applications offer message-tailoring capabilities and interactive, participatory environments.

However, a variety of factors may contribute to resistance toward social media use in health care, including a general lack of familiarity and concerns over the privacy and security of health-related information.


– to reach the right audience (right tools, and level of knowledge necessary to understand the health information)

– to convince health professionals who have been slow to adopt common electronic communication tools

– inaccuracies, misunderstandings, misuse of online medical advices

 Study case: CDC communication with Web 2.0 during the H1N1 virus crisis.


Pharmacists may continue to serve their patients by providing the most accurate, up-to-date information regarding medications. However, the mechanism for provision of information is likely to change. Despite the slow growth of social networking in pharmacy, pharmacists may soon begin using social media tools such as blogs, microblogs (e.g., Twitter), videos, and other tools to reach their patients in the manner desired.

The profession, on both individual and group levels, must become more versed in social media. Public health professionals should interact with the social media industry (e.g., Web designers, social media experts) more frequently to proactively discover and take advantage of unique opportunities afforded by these applications.

Cain, Jeff, F. Romanelli, and B. Fox. “Pharmacy, Social Media, and Health: Opportunity for Impact.” J Am Pharm Assoc 50.6 (2010): 745-51.



Written by hbasset

March 26, 2011 at 2:10 pm

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