Medicine 2.0 (2012): Bertalan Mesko’s concept on social media and the patient-physician relationship

Anyone that is interested in social media and medicine should, at minimum, be following Bertalan Mesko ( He runs a flesh-and-blood course on the subject at the University of Debrecen in Hungary and has set up an online curriculum as well. He spoke about the online course at Web 2.0.

He showed twitter chat demonstrating the discomfort people have with the protocols of online interaction. A patient attempted to “Friend” a physician on Facebook. The doctor felt that his Facebook profile was private and personal and turned down the request. The next time the doctor saw the patient in clinic he tried to act like the activity never occurred and felt awful about the whole experience. Bertalan suggested that when he turned the request down he should have sent a note explaining how he felt about Facebook and his personal privacy and possibly redirect him to a parallel online presence where the doctor was comfortable interacting with patients. I thought this type of straight forward common sense showed a doctor who had thought deeply about social media.

His closing slides were excellent. He said that one of the core competencies of physicians was that they were natural communicators and that patients are communicating in social media so doctors will need to communicate through these same sights.

Check out the digital literacy talk in medical education at the conference.

Joel Topf, MD
eAJKD advisory board member

Check out all of eAJKD’s coverage of Medicine 2.0 here.

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