Twitter finds a home in healthcare

Microblogging service Twitter is fast becoming a viable tool for real-time healthcare communication. What you lose in depth from the 140-character limit per message you gain in immediacy.

In her regular iHealthBeat column, healthcare economist and health 2.0 backer Jane Sarasohn-Kahn calls Twitter "EZ-HIT" while exploring the many uses of Twitter in healthcare--some innovative, some potentially life-saving and, yes, a few that seem pointless. While we're still skeptical of Henry Ford Hospital's "tweeting" of a surgical procedure, Sarasohn-Kahn makes the case that such exercises might be useful in medical education. And we very much like the idea of instant public health alerts and motivational messages for those trying to kick the smoking habit.

As uber-CIO Dr. John Halamka put it, "If I can reach my staff and colleagues via the means of communication they find best--IM, email, blogs, microblogs, phone/voicemail, fax and Plaxo/LinkedIn--then I've met my goal of overcommunicating with all my stakeholders to ensure they understand my strategy, priorities and important health care IT news of the day."

For more about how Twitter is finding a foothold in healthcare:
- read Sarasohn-Kahn's iHealthBeat column