Countering Medical Misinformation On Social Media

Healthcare Marketing to counteract the incorrect clinical disclosure

The term social media refers to any tool made available by the internet to share and spread content. These digital platforms allow you to create virtual interconnections and a potentially extended extension of your social network.

These media have also been defined as User Generated Content (UGC) since they allow users to produce and disseminate multimedia material without requiring special technological skills.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are some of the most used web portals both by individuals and companies, the latter are gradually increasing their online presence to approach consumer habits and increase their strategic presence in a digital perspective. Me too’ hospital sector in recent years is intensifying its presence on the web to get closer to the needs of the user-patients so as to be born the term Healthcare Marketing to describe the phenomenon.


There are also Social Networks specific to the clinical area. One of the most widespread is Sermo, a platform very similar to Facebook but designed exclusively for the field of medicine.

The name Sermo derives from the Latin word meaning conversation, discussion. Born in the USA, this virtual salon has had such a spread that today there is also an Italian version. In this platform, doctors, exclusive visitors to the site, can share information, in-depth analysis and discussions concerning clinical cases and express opinions on health topics.

The tools referring exclusively to the medical field are many, their usefulness consists precisely in increasing professional and educational networking. The potential risk, however, is to create a closed information model in which the dissemination of knowledge is limited to the circle of experts.

PatientsLikeMe, on the other hand, is an online community designed for patients who want to confront people with similar diseases. The danger of these platforms, as for the Facebook groups and the communities of individuals not belonging to the sector, is that there is an exchange or a disclosure of incorrect information.

Social media is a powerful tool capable of influencing millions of people, the problem is that it can sometimes do so by promoting the disinformation. For this reason, it is essential that medical professionals undertake to combat this trend by increasing their presence on these platforms.

According to a study by the American Osteopathic Association, s ono eight out of 10 people who are trying to find online clinical responses, compared with 74% of users who use social media instead.

Another aspect to consider is the idea of ​​a dedicated platform able to fulfill the function of correct dissemination of clinical information, which also protects the possibility that online interaction between doctor and patient leads to the disclosure of data sensitive. It must be remembered that the internet is a public space where this circumstance becomes possible.

It is therefore essential to think of a virtual sharing space that respects the premises of privacy and correct disclosure, and which indicates guidelines that can guide the healthcare professional towards an awareness of the appropriate use of online tools, thus facilitating a correct delivery of services sanitary.