Social Networks: A “Second Life” for the Healthcare Industry?

Monday, November 5th, 2007
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Facebook. MySpace. Friendster…and Social MD?

Today, social networking is everywhere, and the healthcare arena is no exception. Whether you are a student, a patient, a doctor or otherwise, somewhere on the Information Superhighway there is a network for you.

Social networking Web sites are now available to healthcare professionals. Social MD is a network open to med students, residents, fellows and physicians and is geared toward facilitating the free-flow of information between these participants.

And they’re not the only ones jumping on this virtual bandwagon. Stanford University is becoming a part of the social networking craze by offering its 30,000 students, faculty and staff members an online community that aims to promote healthy living.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are putting an interesting twist on another popular virtual reality site, Second Life, by “renting” virtual “land” on the site on which to open a “virtual office” to host events and businesses. ACS raised $40,000 for its Relay for Life event through this virtual office. The CDC has also hosted some virtual events via Second Life.

And the social network bug has also bitten patients. The Wellness Community (TWC) brings social networking to teens with cancer through Group Loop, a site providing online support for these teens as well as their parents.

Visit HIN’s bookstore and check out NOT ur parents’ healthcare anymore: The 411 on selling health via new media, our special report in which three healthcare marketers divulge how novel marketing and product development tactics are grabbing the attention of Generation X and Generation Y who are becoming less responsive to traditional healthcare and health insurance products.

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