(*) Extraído de:http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2009-08/26/how-twitter-helps-doctors-do-their-jobs-.aspx

“How Twitter helps doctors do their jobs
By Katie Scott

Twitter is emerging as an increasingly useful tool for healthcare professionals, according to Telemedicine and e-Health which found that many doctors are using the social network to keep in touch with patients and fellow professionals.

Joseph C. Kvedar, director of the Centre for Connected Health in Boston, says that Twitter has proved useful tool for contacting large numbers of people quickly: “It’s a bit like having a group of people you can instantly send a blast fax or blast email or a blast communication to because it’s real time and because it was designed for mobility.”

Several NHS primary care trusts have started Twitter accounts and NHS Direct now also has a feed, although the staff manning it cannot provide specific medical advice in response to individual questions. Instead it issues general information such as swine flu updates and contact numbers to call for assistance. The World Health Organisation also has a Twitter news feed, which has 16,304 followers.

The swine flu pandemic has accelerated many health organisations’ adoption of Twiiter. In the US, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used their Twitter feeds to put out up-to-date information about the flu, countering scare stories and giving people an easily accessible source of reliable information.

Erin Edgerton, senior social media strategist for the CDC, says that his organisation’s use of Twitter was designed to reach as many people as possible. “We have three feeds in Twitter and we segmented them so they have different content so they may appeal to different people,” he said. “So, rather than having one general CDC Twitter feed, we try to segment out the information so people can really find what’s relevant and interesting for them.”

Medical professionals have also been using the service to keep abreast of new developments in their fields.

Michael Lara, a doctor who runs a blog called Musings on Mind, Brain and Body in the Age of the Internet, says he uses Twitter to gather medical information from fellow experts. He adds that Twitter can also be useful to get information from a conference he can’t attend, but acknowledges that “most of the tweets from the conference tend to fall into the interesting but not necessarily clinically useful category.”

Some medical Twitterers are cautious for other reasons. Many American hospitals have Twitter feeds, but they frequently add disclaimers stating that just because they are following someone, they are not endorsing their views. Justin Paquette from the Anne Arundel Medical Centre says: “Just like in any other conversation, we can only be responsible for what we say.” (*)

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