Internet offers physicians unlimited possibilities, especially in social media. Collaborating. Retrieving knowledge. Disseminating knowledge. Growing as a doctor. Everything is possible. No matter what issue you are dealing with as a physician, there is always a colleague somewhere  in the world who is willing to assist with his knowledge and help. But is it still practical? Or will the endless social media features overshoot its goals?

Let’s build a community!

Two years ago Artsennet, the website for Dutch medicine, wanted to build a social network for all Dutch medicals. Why? Because I – no physician but always dreamt of being one –  could imagine that a doctor alone cannot know everything he or she wants to know. But the knowledge of many physicians combined, provides the needed information to empower healthcare. During the preliminary investigation we looked into LinkedIn and noted there were nine discussion groups for medical professionals which each one to four members. We saw great opportunities for our plans.

Fragmented reality

Now, two years later, a diverse number of medical organizations and hospitals have started their own social network, a lot of common social networks are used by medical professionals  and LinkedIn contains numerous discussion groups for doctors. Great? Yes, indeed. Practical? No way! Where to start and where to go? What was the password for network x and y, what my login for network z? Why this fragmentation when collaboration was such a big opportunity? Social media brings doctors together, but at the same time it separates them. An extraordinary strange paradox.

Integration is key

The next step in making online collaboration and sharing knowledge actually work, is to connect. Integration.
That’s why Artsennet steps away from the plans to start her own social network. Instead, we facilitate existing important and safe networks for medical professionals. For example the recently launched connection between Artsennet and MijnZorgnet logins. Physicians who have logged in on Artsennet can participate into the communities with other medical professionals and patients on MijnZorgnet. That is joining forces in order to empower healthcare. Integration of networks leads to unprecedented possibilities that are easy to use and easy to share.

Blog by Karin Oost