Medical professionals understand how quickly germs can spread – ask any pediatrician during cold and flu season. We’ve also begun to notice how quickly information can spread on social media, whether true or untrue. Medical misinformation is an urgent and new problem that pediatricians have to address in their practices, and one that is at the core of Social Cascade’s mission.
Turning to the internet, and social media specifically, for medical advice and information is a trend that has accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic. This can certainly be helpful if the medical information is sound – say, promoting the benefits of getting the annual flu vaccine – but what happens when shared medical information is not physician-approved and credible?
Unfortunately, the latter is usually the case. Many medical providers don’t maintain a prominent and active social media presence, leaving a vacuum for misinformation to thrive. The lack of medical authority on social media platforms enables the prevalence of medical misinformation to spread like, well, the flu.
While we can’t promise to totally eradicate medical misinformation on social media, we offer the following best practices for how to confront them head on:
Call it out: Discuss misinformation with your families When you are confronted with a patient who presents you with misinformation – maybe citing a post they saw on Facebook or an easily-debunkable medical assertion – it’s incumbent upon medical professionals to discuss the fallacy and the medium. The Department of Health and Human Services states medical misinformation “can cause confusion, sow mistrust, harm people’s health, and undermine public health efforts.” Don’t allow misinformation to go unchecked.
Join the conversation: Share information from credible healthcare resources
The most important step doctors can take at this point is joining the discussion online. Instead of playing whack-a-mole for each item of medical misinformation that arises, doctors can and should contribute shareable and engaging content to social media feeds to offer an antidote to the misinformation. If misinformation sows mistrust, doctor-approved medical information can rebuild that trust.
But, how? Social Cascade makes it possible
We know that for pediatric clinicians, setting up and maintaining a dynamic and helpful online presence isn’t easy. At Social Cascade, we’ve simplified the process for pediatricians: we provide you access to several information streams and set up automatic posts to popular social media sites. Refer your patients to your profiles so they can see content you’ve approved and shared. With Social Cascade, you have the ability to refute common misinformation, as well as contribute positively to the medical discourse, creating health literacy in your patients.