Docs increasingly connecting through YouTube

Although most medical videos on YouTube are aimed at patients, physicians also use the videos to present research papers or talks from professional meetings, according to an article in American Medical News. Doctors also use the site to help with personal branding, Michael Banks, M.D., president of The Doctors Channel, told the publication.

"I can tell you 29 percent of physicians do not post their own videos on YouTube," said Banks, who was referencing a figure reported in a report published earlier this year by healthcare recruitment firm AMN Healthcare. "But the ones that do make videos are helping to establish themselves as experts in a certain area."

Ralph Henderson, president of health care staffing for AMN, pointed to two strengths of YouTube as a social network, according to amednews: It's easy to search and it's easy to make a connection, either through commenting on the video or by sharing the video.

However, once the connection is made, according to the article, the professionals likely take their conversation elsewhere.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has created a YouTube channel for health professionals, according to the article. In addition, other public health agencies are jumping into the social-media mix, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which spreads public health messages through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and text-messaging, according to the Associated Press.

What's more, health facilities are finding that social media helps draw in patients. For example, the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha posts videos on specific topics such as thyroid cancer, awake brain surgery or lymphoma treatment, a strategy that it claimed has led to an increase in physician referrals.

To learn more:
- read the American Medical News article
- here's the AP story
- check out the ONC's YouTube channel