Sunday, February 08, 2009

The “Socialized” Practice – Part II

With the advent of the various Internet social networking mediums on the world wide web such as Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, and a host of others combined with other communication tools such as blogs, Twitter, Friendfeed and others, the challenge for any professional or in this case physical therapists is to find a way to effectively use these tools to promote their practice and communicate with their patients and/or clients.

Scott Shreeve, who founded Medsphere Systems, coined the term “Millenial Patients” and described them as “defined by their behavior rather than their  age, sex, or demographic.  He goes on to describe how they utilize the Internet for almost every aspect of their daily lives to “meet their personal, social and professional needs.”

This group of people, the so called millenial patients, are not interested in an authoritarian, top down relationship from a professional such as a physical therapist or physician.  They are far more interested in finding a trusted partner with whom they have an ongoing relationship “based on trust, mutual respect and open communication” according to Shreeve.

My experience leads to me to strongly agree with this paradigm and therefore makes me wonder how I can best serve these patients.  I believe that the answer lies within the integration of the various communication tools available through the Internet including email, social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and website based discussion forums into our practices.  The challenge will be determining best practices in the integration and utilization of these amazing tools and I think perhaps the best tool currently at my disposal might just be TxXchange.  (A disclaimer: I do not have any financial involvement with TxXchange other than as a customer.)

In the third party of this series I will look at how I am envisioning the use of the aforementioned tools and particularly TxXchange in tackling some of the challenges of modern practice.