Facebook: Using new media for social change

Better late than never.  While I'm still trying to figure out Twitter and the logic of second-by-second status updates, I'm finding Facebook a great tool to try and change the world.

Maybe it's my MIT roots.  Always been hooked by all things tech.  Medicine, though, has always been a late adopter of technology.  Even with the latest push for electronic health records, it will take some time to overcome up-front cost and efficiency barriers for most small practices to get on board.  That is not always a bad thing – witness friend and colleague Dr. Anne Armstrong-Coben's terrific, provocate op-ed in the NYT on the downside of EHR's.  But when I started my new practice last summer, I knew we would be all electronic – as paperless as possible; good for the environment, and (I believe) good for quality and efficiency of care. 

So why did it take so long to get hooked on Facebook?  I guess I thought it would be a total time-sink, taking me away from important things like family and seeing patients.  Yet at the same time, I have witnessed the benefit of tech to connect with folks around the world to better children's health, via a professional listserv (a yahoo group), the IPIM Network, linking up to discuss clinical topics, research and education.  This blog has been a useful tool as well, but it's really been a one-way street.  I write, you read.  Not too many comments.  Then it occurred to me that Facebook could a great way to connect on a larger scale, with more back-and-forth. 

So, I launched a group, The Whole Child, this month.  We're already over 100 members.  The jury is still out on whether change will actually be effected by this approach, but I'm hopeful.  At the very least, we're all talking about kids' health.  If you're on Facebook, search for The Whole Child group and join us.  I'll be posting items for discussion relevant to children's health and wellness.  I hope you will too.  Let's change the world.

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