Yesterday I gave yet another talk on “Web 2.0 and Medicine” at the 19th UP College of Medicine Grand Scientific Symposium at the Hyatt Hotel Manila. After my presentation, a doctor approached me asking if I had any experience running a patient support group on Facebook. Sadly, I had no experience to share with him. I did encourage him to continue and better yet report or publish his current Facebook support group for teenagers dealing with pregnancy. A Department of Health Doctor to the Barrio approached me as well, asking guidance about setting up a hypertension support group on Facebook.
So I sat down today and googled away … Here’s a short presentation on Slideshare.net from Ed Bennett, Director, Web & Communications Technology of the University of Maryland Medical System:
- The Facebook group will be an extension of an IRL (in real life) support group, sanctioned by hospital authorities (including the legal department) and preferably requested by the patients. Only the hospital’s own patients can join the group.
- The leader of the IRL support group should moderate the Facebook group too. As moderator, he will approve membership to the Facebook group.
- The Facebook group page can either be CLOSED or SECRET. According to the Facebook Groups page: in a CLOSED group, anyone can see the group but only members can read posts. In a SECRET group on the other hand, only members can see the group what members post. Secret groups will not appear in a Facebook search.
- There must be a statement of Terms and Condtions. An example is given In Ed Bennett’s presentation from the UMMS Post Liver Transplant Support Group:
Welcome to the Post Liver Transplant Support Group online patient support community on Facebook. This group is restricted to current and former patients treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center. It is intended for you to share your experiences and connect with others who have a similar diagnosis.This group is not intended for personal communication between you and your health care provider, or for seeking urgent medical attention. If you have an urgent medical need, please call your doctor or the nearest emergency room immediately.
This group has been set up as a private Facebook group accessible only to approved patients, caregivers and health care providers. Confidentiality of discussions shared in this forum is expected; however, it cannot be guaranteed. Private groups are subject to Facebook corporate policies. In addition, posts to the group are viewable by all group members. As with any online communication, be aware that anything posted has the potential to become public and only post information you are comfortable sharing with others in the patient support community.By joining this private patient support group, you are indicating that you agree to the terms and conditions listed above.
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