When was the last time you were sick but avoided going to the doctor because of all the hassles, from scheduling the appointment to filling out forms and answering medical history questions?

Doctors visits might soon be painless thanks to social media in health care, A Smarter Planet blogger Josh Catone points out.

Web-based and social media tools are making it easier to get health information, Buy Generic pharmacy find doctors, make appointments, keep records, and get support. These tools are revolutionizing the healthcare field and the way people approach the practice of medicine. …

One of the most obvious ways that the web and social media are making our lives healthier, is in the proliferation of health information. I can remember getting sick when I was a child and watching my mother haul out a huge thousand-plus page medical encyclopedia to try and figure out what I might have and whether I needed to be taken to a doctor (or what sort of questions to ask when we got there). Today, though, health mega-portals like WebMD, Revolution Health, and Yahoo! Health contain more information than that big book my mom used to own ever could — and it’s all searchable and available instantly.

In addition to illustrating how social channels are helping provide health information for patients, Catone goes on to describe several other uses of social media in health care:

  • Locating doctors. Sites like Vitals and HealthGrades provide doctor ratings and help patients locate a good doctor. Sites like FindaDoc and RateMDs.com allows patients to chose a doctor based on their peers’ recommendations.
  • Providing care. Sites such as American Well, BreakThrough and DoubleCheckMD allow patients to assess their symptoms or consult with doctors online.
  • Keeping records. With online personal health record systems, patients can access their health records over the Internet and send them to authorized doctors and other medical personnel.
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