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Social Media: Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare

March 9, 2024

Healthcare professionals engage in information sharing in the digital space. This is used for effective communication - to humanize healthcare providers and other individuals of different professional backgrounds and make them more available to a wider audience.

From the latest diets to new technological advancements to innovations in the healthcare system, the digital space can be used for the collaborative practice among healthcare providers, decision-making of healthcare teams, quality healthcare delivery, and overall support collaboration, especially when it comes to interprofessional care.

In this article, we will tackle how social media is utilized to address patient needs, prioritize patient safety, push for health care reform, support interprofessional teams, avoid miscommunication among health systems, and overall achieve positive outcomes as a common goal among healthcare professionals in the digital space.

How Do We Understand Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare Better?

Interprofessional collaboration in healthcare is essential for ensuring that patients receive comprehensive, holistic care from a team of professionals working together towards common goals. An improved understanding of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare can be achieved by promoting communication and teamwork amongst healthcare professionals, creating opportunities for training and education on the importance of collaborative practice, and implementing strategies to address barriers such as hierarchy and power differentials between disciplines.

Additionally, fostering a culture of respect, trust, and shared decision-making among team members is needed to enhance interprofessional relationships and ultimately improve patient outcomes. By valuing the expertise and experiences of all healthcare professionals involved in a patient's care, we can successfully navigate complex healthcare challenges and provide coordinated, efficient, and effective treatment plans that prioritize the patient's well-being.

What are New Trends in Healthcare Interprofessional Collaboration?

One of the emerging trends in healthcare interprofessional collaboration is the utilization of interdisciplinary teams to provide comprehensive patient care. These teams often consist of healthcare professionals from various backgrounds, such as doctors, nurses, social workers, and therapists, working together towards a common goal. This approach allows for a broader range of expertise and perspectives to be brought to the table when discussing treatment plans and making decisions about patient care.

Indeed, technology has played a significant role in enhancing communication and collaboration among healthcare professionals. Platforms like telemedicine and electronic health records have facilitated real-time data sharing and improved coordination between different providers. Overall, these new trends are aimed at promoting seamless communication and improving outcomes for patients by ensuring that all members of the healthcare team are working together efficiently and effectively.

Related: How Does Social Media Affect Your Healthcare Career?

As discussed before, there's also a steep rise in the number of people who are turning to social media apps, like TikTok, to tell their stories and journeys getting their diagnosis in the hopes that their stories will help someone else who has been struggling to get their own diagnosis. Mental health professionals across the globe have seen an increase in patients coming to them with questions and concerns about their mental health based on what they are seeing on TikTok and other social media channels. It has further opened the door to the complexities of getting a mental health diagnosis and has helped patients feel that they are truly not alone in their struggles.

A healthcare professional accessing some well-known social media platforms.

What are the Advantages of Social Media and Collaboration in Healthcare?

Social media and healthcare collaboration play significant roles in shaping the way healthcare is delivered and accessed. One advantage of social media in healthcare is its ability to facilitate communication and information sharing among healthcare professionals, patients, and organizations. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn enable real-time communication, collaboration on research projects, knowledge exchange, and dissemination of health information.

Furthermore, social media allows for patient engagement through virtual support groups, telemedicine consultations, and personalized health education. Collaboration tools such as shared workspaces also streamline workflows by allowing remote teams to collaborate on patient care plans, research initiatives, and quality improvement projects. Overall, leveraging social media and collaboration technology in healthcare leads to improved patient outcomes, increased efficiency in care delivery, enhanced professional networking opportunities, and a more connected healthcare ecosystem.

Additionally, there's also a sense of community where people can share their health issues and diagnoses online is the most amazing by-product of social media-assisted collaborative healthcare. People that may have felt in the past that they were alone in their struggles are now seeing that they are not alone. Those same people, who may have been afraid to reach out before for fear of judgement or being brushed off, are now reaching out to medical healthcare professionals to get the treatment that they need to bring back the quality of living to their lives.

A list summarizing the advantages of social media and collaboration in healthcare.

Healthcare, in general, has become less scary. Healthcare professionals have become less intimidating and are turning to social media to show their human side as well as to get information out to patients all over the world. At any given time, you can open TikTok and search for the keywords “doctor” or “nurse” or even a health problem that you have, and you will come up with hundreds, if not thousands, of videos where other people and healthcare professionals will discuss symptoms, what to watch for, and how to get a diagnosis.

Is Social Media Presence Indicative of the Competencies of Professionals?

In an article published by Healio, Dr. Austin Chiang (MD, MPH), director of bariatric endoscopy at Jefferson Health and founder and president of the Association for Healthcare Social Media, is quoted as saying: “If we’re not on these social media platforms as health professionals, then the conversation would be dominated by people who don’t have the appropriate training.”

In that same article, Don S. Dizon, MD, FACP, FASCO, professor of medicine at Brown University, says: “The time for any physician to discount social media platforms is over. I don’t think we should ignore it, and I don’t think we should pretend that it doesn’t make a difference because it is; it’s making a huge difference.”

Their efforts to combine the power of social media with healthcare are not going unnoticed. If you really want to see the social media-assisted collaborative healthcare trend in action, jump on TikTok and dive into #MentalHealthTok, #ADHDTok or #OBGYN and scroll through the millions of videos of people who have expressed concerns with the treatment they are receiving (and what they have done about it), received a diagnosis after years of suffrage (thanks to social media), or are experiencing symptoms that they don’t know how to explain to their doctor. You will find all kinds of patients and healthcare professionals sharing their knowledge and stories while virtually wrapping their arms around those in the community who need their help.

Related: Top Five Healthcare Trends You Need To Be On Top Of

What are the Disadvantages of Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Healthcare?

Just as there are advantages, there are also drawbacks to social media-assisted collaborative healthcare. The main one is that some people are extremely susceptible to what they see online and can find themselves experiencing symptoms that they don’t have, seeking treatment for illnesses they don’t have, incorrectly self-diagnosing and potentially clogging up the healthcare system, affecting the ability of our healthcare professionals to quickly and effectively treat those patients who are experiencing illness.

There is also a lot of misinformation on social media, and sometimes you will come across people identifying themselves as healthcare professionals when, in fact, they are not. This is where it is very important to do your research and find facts from accredited sources. If research is not your thing, then you should seek out a trusted healthcare professional for advice before self-diagnosing or seeking treatment.

Healthcare professionals brainstorming during their virtual meeting.

What Should We Expect from Social Media-Assisted Collaborative Healthcare Going Forward?

Whether the healthcare industry is ready for it or not, social media-assisted collaborative healthcare is changing how we see and access healthcare, and that’s a good thing. From TikTok medical advice to telehealth and e-health services being offered more and more, access to information and consultation with medical providers is becoming easier for everyone across the world. The future of healthcare is exciting, and with the assistance of technology, real change is happening every day.

Job Opportunities for Healthcare Workers at Caring Support

The team at Caring Support is a big promoter of change and innovation within the healthcare industry - that’s why we do what we do in our drive to connect healthcare professionals with organizations where together they can make a difference and bring about the change within our healthcare system in Canada and the world that we need. We see the multitude of benefits to having social media as a tool used by healthcare professionals to help bring about that change, and we are excited to see what the future has in store for healthcare in Canada.

If you're a healthcare worker in Ontario, Canada, looking for a job with a top healthcare employer, then healthcare. If you haven't already, you should sign up for our platform and create a free healthcare worker account. Once you've signed up and filled out your profile, you'll have access to numerous opportunities where you can be a part of the change. Start your journey with Caring Support today.

About The Author
Kate Piamonte
Content Writer

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