Is The Future Of Healthcare Communications In Social Media?

By Megan O'Neill Comment

While most doctors decline ‘friend’ requests from patients, there’s no unwritten law that says doctors can’t be friends with one another on Facebook. In face, UK-based DocCom thinks that social media may be the future of communications in the healthcare industry, and is visiting Silicon Valley this week for the Future Health Mission 2011 in order to spread awareness to this end.

So what is DocCom exactly? Basically, the company offers a cloud-based Enterprise Social Networking and messaging platform that provides an easy and effective way for healthcare professionals to engage with one another. Concerned primarily with solving the problems that different organizations and professionals within the healthcare industry have in communicating with one another, DocCom opens a channel for these organizations and professionals to share and exchange important information with relevant healthcare professionals. As an example, the company’s product description states that, “DocCom Alert allows organizations such as the National Patient Safety Agency to send urgent medical information, targeting only the relevant healthcare professionals.” Additionally, other apps within the service allow for emergency shift filling for doctors and nurses and more. “These ‘apps’ increase the recruitment from internal and local resources, thereby reducing spend on expensive external agencies and allowing better continuity of care for patients.”

DocCom’s vision for the future of healthcare communications, which is stated on their website, is as follows:

“In the future we see global opportunities to revolutionize the way healthcare organizations and their professionals communicate using enterprise social networking technology. Throughout the world healthcare organizations have mobile workers, in multiple organizations, which require coordination and effective communication. DocCom’s unique insight allows organizations to know who is where, when, doing what, and how best to get hold of them.

“Our vision is that by enabling organizations and professionals to harness the power of their network we can help them collaborate, share, improve efficiency and productivity and ultimately improve the safety and quality of care for patients.”

Co-founder and technical director of DocCom, Jonathan Shaw, who also happens to be a doctor, is visiting Silicon Valley and San Francisco along with 19 other healthcare technology companies from the UK, in order to forge relationships and boost awareness about their groundbreaking healthcare-related products and technologies. The mission is supported by Microsoft, UKTI and the Technology Strategy Board. The Board’s Director of Innovative Programmes, David Bott, says, “The Technology Strategy Board believes the San Francisco and Silicon Valley areas have created the most unique environment in the world for spawning and growing the technologies that will change the world – and that innovation is crucial to UK businesses.”

DocCom is currently focused on healthcare professionals in the UK. However, the company plans to launch in the United States by the end of this year. What do you think of the idea of using social media to improve global healthcare?