Joslin Diabetes Center Physicians Are Social

Alliance Health announced this week that Joslin Diabetes Center, a Boston-based leading diabetes research and clinical care organization, is participating in Diabetic Connect, Alliance’s social network for diabetes patients. The partnership represents the first time that clinicians’ views are officially incorporated into the Alliance online community. It’s a move that Alliance will probably try to replicate with its other social networks, and also something that other health social networks are likely to look to do.

Joslin clinicians have agreed to become active community members by posting, commenting and responding to frequently asked questions.

“We feel there’s a chance to now bring endocrinologists and other clinicians online to engage with patients and maybe clarify things, amplify things or just kind of give it a Joslin stamp of approval,” David Goldsmith, Alliance Health Vice President of Corporate Development, said in September at the Health 2.0 Conference when plans for the partnership were announced.

Physicians have been slow to embrace online social media in their professional lives because the lines between what is and isn’t appropriate to talk about online aren’t clear. However, projects from Alliance and other organizations demonstrate that experts do want to get involved in the online discussion. For example, HealthTap, an interactive health network, has signed up 7,000 physicians to participate in its medical Q&A service ― quite an accomplishment when there’s still a stigma associated with doctors using online networks.

Alliance has also begun to chip away at physicians’ hesitancy. By getting 650,000 diabetes patients involved with its social network, Alliance showed that lots of patients want to talk with knowledgeable people about medical issues online. And increasingly more physicians seem to want to meet them there with accurate and helpful information.

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