I wish people would stop confusing social media with social networks. Unless every single thing you do online is media, there is a difference! Ah well, here is a study on social health:

ABOUT 60% OF ALL ADULTS over 18 use the Web to find health and wellness info, according to new research from iCrossing. And while search is still the dominant channel for accessing that info, Americans are increasingly turning to social media sites–including Wikipedia, blogs, message boards and social networking groups–to educate themselves about specific diseases or conditions.

Over two days in December 2007, iCrossing questioned more than 1,080 adults via the Greenfield Online survey service, and found that 72% of respondents used social media sites “all or some of the time” to educate themselves about specific medical conditions. Some 42% said they used groups at various portals like AOL Health, Yahoo Health and Google to assess the benefits of a home remedy. Meanwhile, nearly a third said that they used such sites to research the reputation of a doctor or facility, when starting a new medication, or adopting a new course of treatment

We are going to see massive changes in the way pharmaceutical companies communicate with consumers. Yes, even in Australia where advertising and sponsorship is extremely limited compared to the U.S.A. In fact, maybe the change will be more so here.

And what do you think of Rate MDs, Rate My Doctor and Dr Score? Old news but rating one’s doctor is coming to Australia:

A WEBSITE that lets patients rate and post harsh opinions of their doctors is coming to Australia.

The RateMDs.com website has created a storm among US medical professionals since it was launched in 2005.

Some of the 270,000 US doctors rated on the site have sued patients for libel in the wake of anonymous postings labelling them awful, negligent, unethical and “the worst doctor in the world”.

One doctor won a court battle to have comments posted on him removed.

The Australian Medical Association has slammed the site, saying it could lead doctors to leave the profession.

On the site, patients rate their doctors out of five for punctuality, knowledge, helpfulness and overall quality, and then provide a short comment about their experience.

Founder John Swapceinski is also behind RateMyTeachers.com, which invites students to anonymously comment on their teachers.

I want a Hot or Not doctors site – you know something useful, with a photo and whether they are single and …. errr, you do know I’m joking, right?

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