Social media includes many different forms of technology including online forums, blogs, microblogs (i.e. Twitter), wikipedias, video blogs, social networks and podcasting. The use of social media has grown exponentially and time spent on social media sites now represents one in five minutes spent online. Concomitant with this online growth, there has been an inverse trajectory in direct face-to-face patient-provider moments, which continue to become scarcer across the spectrum of health care. In contrast to standard forms of engagement and education, social media has advantages to include profound reach, immediate availability, an archived presence and broad accessibility. Our opportunity as health care providers to partner with our patients has never been greater, yet all too often we allow risk averse fears to limit our ability to truly leverage our good content effectively to the online community. This risk averse behavior truly limits our capacity to effectively engage our patients where they are -- online.
Keywords: Social media, online, health care providers, patient-physician