COMMENTARY

How I Use Social Media as a Family Physician

Mike Sevilla, MD

Disclosures

May 26, 2015

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I'm Mike Sevilla, a family physician in full-time private practice in Salem, Ohio. My website is drmikesevilla.com. I would like to share with you some thoughts on social media and the primary care physician. I have had much benefit from using social media in the past 10 years.

One thing that I use social media for is to help combat all of the bad information that is out on the Internet right now. Every day in my office, patients bring me information from the Internet and they say, "Dr Sevilla, is this good information? Is this bad information?" Many doctors discourage their patients from doing that. I see it as an opportunity to open dialogue with patients, especially when it comes to such topics as vaccines and autism, and the lack of a connection between the two. There are many things on television that patients talk to me about. I see that as a big opportunity to discuss what is correct information and what is bad information.

Another benefit of my presence on social media is that it has been a very good recruiting and business move on my part. I have had more new patients coming in during the past 5 years who have said, "Dr Sevilla, we are here because we Googled your name. We like what we have seen. We also Googled Salem, Ohio, and primary care (or family medicine)." So, I have definitely seen a benefit to having a presence on the Internet. If you Google the name of many physicians, all you see are physician rating sites. Physicians can take control of their social media footprint by having positive things on the Internet, by having even Facebook, Twitter, or a blog where they write clinical or advocacy information that can raise their presence on social media.

The last thing that I want to share with you is that I use social media for advocacy. I write about primary care. I write about family medicine. I record YouTube videos. I share conversations on social media to help change some of the perceptions that primary care and family medicine have in the community and also on the Internet.

Those are three ways that I use social media. Physicians, especially primary care physicians, have a responsibility to be on social media to help correct misinformation. It's a good business move to be on social media and also to be an advocate for your patients and for your specialty.

My name is Mike Sevilla. Thank you for listening.

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