Crowdsourcing Patient-Centered Care How can you maximize the benefits of crowdsourcing treatment tips or solving puzzling cases through social media—without risking patient privacy? Get Social
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Get Social  |   March 2016
Crowdsourcing Patient-Centered Care
Author Notes
  • Mary Huston, MS, CCC-SLP, is a school-based SLP in rural North Dakota. She helped form the SLP network on Twitter and collaborates internationally with colleagues via Twitter, Facebook, and her blog at www.speechadventures.com. Huston is director of app excellence at YappGuru.com. mehuston.slp@gmail.com
    Mary Huston, MS, CCC-SLP, is a school-based SLP in rural North Dakota. She helped form the SLP network on Twitter and collaborates internationally with colleagues via Twitter, Facebook, and her blog at www.speechadventures.com. Huston is director of app excellence at YappGuru.com. mehuston.slp@gmail.com×
  • Tanya Coyle, MS, is a school-based SLP in Ontario, Canada, who helped establish the speech-language community on Twitter in 2010. She proposed and has managed the Leader’s “Get Social” series since its August 2013 launch. slptanya@gmail.com
    Tanya Coyle, MS, is a school-based SLP in Ontario, Canada, who helped establish the speech-language community on Twitter in 2010. She proposed and has managed the Leader’s “Get Social” series since its August 2013 launch. slptanya@gmail.com×
Article Information
Telepractice & Computer-Based Approaches / Get Social
Get Social   |   March 2016
Crowdsourcing Patient-Centered Care
The ASHA Leader, March 2016, Vol. 21, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.GS.21032016.np
The ASHA Leader, March 2016, Vol. 21, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.GS.21032016.np
Audiologists and speech-language pathologists regularly create goals and carry out treatment plans for aural rehab, stroke rehab, language intervention, articulation and much more. Many of us turn to social media outlets—Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest—for ideas to help develop these goals or plans. However, this might not always serve the best interest of our patients or clients.
When it comes to patient-centered care, we might get tempted by the ease of crowdsourcing resources, ideas or suggestions through social media. A well-intentioned audiologist or SLP might begin a Facebook or Twitter discussion about specific clients or difficulties attaining certain goals. It’s wonderful to exchange ideas and brainstorm with colleagues, but doing so on public forums like social media often infringes on privacy, particularly if you ask about a rare disorder, disease or circumstance in conjunction with a particular client.
Imagine how you might feel if your patients or their caregivers read one of those posts? Imagine how you’d feel if your loved one’s specialist wrote a similar post? Most of us understand the inappropriateness of sharing client-specific information over public channels, but leaving out names isn’t enough. If a client, patient, student, caregiver, family member, friend—or anyone connected to the person you discuss—guesses who the post concerns, it constitutes a confidentiality breach.
So, how can we use social media to aid in our patient-centered approach? Take advantage of it as a fantastic means for learning more about patient-centered care. A quick search on Facebook reveals several groups devoted to the topic as well as numerous discussion forums. Many of these groups talk about patient-centered outcomes research used to address questions and concerns of patients and their caregivers.
The medical field recently began using #PatientCenteredCare, which allows you to perform a quick search yielding relevant discussions and links to articles, podcasts and other resources. Examples of tweets that have used this hashtag include links to information about applying social network science to spread empathy to caregivers, shared decision-making, asking the right questions, and this article by Kaiser Permanente, which encourages patients to take a more active role in their treatment.

Use social media not as a way to talk about our patients, but as a tool to research ways to talk with our patients.

A little social media research also yields client- or patient-support sources. People often want to know more about their diagnosis or treatment plan, but might not know where to start. Social media often provides easily found leads you can share, which allows patients to explore their situation from a comfortable distance before jumping into face-to-face support groups. These types of resources include following: the Stuttering Foundation on Twitter or Facebook; the Aphasia Recovery Connection; the National Aphasia Association; the Parents of Kids with Cochlear Implants support group on Facebook; the Down Syndrome Association Facebook page; and the list continues. Spending some time vetting these sites first is always a good idea.
Social media continues to offer excellent tools for connecting individuals, and that hasn’t changed. What the ethics of patient-centered care dictate we do change are the questions we ask in these public forums. So, where does this leave us? It leaves us using social media not as a way to talk about our patients, but as a tool to research ways to talk with our patients.
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March 2016
Volume 21, Issue 3