What is Healthcare Social Media (hcsm)?
hcsm is an acronym which represents Health Care Social Media. hcsm is a global collective of Geographic virtual communities on Twitter. Virtual communities on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook (e.g. Patient support groups) connect people with common objectives. These collectives can be utilised to educate members, improve access to real-time support and improve the agility of conversation data for precision medicine research and development to name several. There are over 30 hcsm geographic communities on Twitter, some of these include Canada (hcsmCA), Europe (hcsmEU), Africa (hcsmAFRICA) and the global community (hcsm) with over 32 000 subscribers and a weekly multi-stakeholder chat.
In the past, health care has worked in silos which made it difficult for patients to navigate the system. Health data is fragmented because we have numerous processes to collect it and a myriad of websites which don’t release the patient’s information. Policies have also restricted data sharing. New technologies like mobile applications could empower patients with the right tools to improve their health outcomes and improve access to care but interoperability and equality are some of the basic needs we need to address first.
#hcsmSA moderates a monthly Twitter chat to discuss health issues in South Africa with a diverse community of members that share their perspectives relating to our future health systems. These members include doctors, scientists, startups, entrepreneurs, patient advocates and organisations, charities, journalists, IT developers, design companies, marketing companies, pharmaceutical companies, academic sector, nurses, caregivers etc. The chats are recorded on a transcript by Symplur and made open to the public for R&D purposes. Sponsorship opportunities are available.
An abstract for future health in South Africa from an e-Patient perspective
The way we search for information is going to change, in future, we will connect in the IoT. Digital platforms that connect users in communities and by demographic will improve support, whilst mobile technologies and wearables will be used to improve the way e-Patients can curate their data. The 21st-century e-Patient researchers their own condition and is able to make more informed decisions. Improving access to care using digital tools like video consulting (Telemedicine), online education and community support could reduce stress on our public facilities. Online communities can also act as central channels to send out public health notifications.