For those of you unaccustomed to Twitterspeak, "FTW" stands for "For the win," a throwback to those great sports moments when an athlete takes a game-winning shot. It's a way to express your love or appreciation-a more efficient way to say "This rocks!" within the confines of a 140-character tweet.
My title is really more of a question than declaration-is Twitter a game-changing tool, or will it turn out to be a blip on the trend scene?
Right now, social media is being put to the test in the health care arena. As the swine flu outbreak has Americans calling off trips to Cancun and watching out for the first sign of sniffles, Twitter is, well, a-twitter with news about the spread. Swine flu is the top search on Twitter, and everyone from Joe Schmoe to the Wall Street Journal Health Blog is talking, er, tweeting about it.
But is all this information doing any good, or is it just more chatter? The outbreak is giving other innovations their chance to shine-Harvard Vanguard, a large medical practice in Boston is using (surprise!) EHRs to track flu-like cases-so I'm curious to see which one ends up on top.
If the countless tweets firing off every few seconds do make a difference, it might be something HIM professionals should jump on. Phil Baumann, RN, BSN, has already found 140 health care uses for Twitter. I haven't perused the whole list, but, heck, what about a cancer registrar sending quick tweets to remind patients of annual updates? The opportunities are there, it's just a matter of getting people on board and doing it the right way. (Where have I heard that before?)
In the meantime, if you want to learn more about social media in health care, check out our video from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference, and keep an eye out for our coverage from HealthCamp Philadelphia, including a podcast with Phil Baumann, coming next month!