The internet has changed the way people shop, do business and communicate. It is also changing the way doctors connect with patients. Recently, many prominent plastic surgeons have begun taking advantage of new forms of social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to provide patient information and to allow prospective and existing patients to communicate about procedures, results and post-op care.
Dr. Richard Cummings, a North Carolina plastic surgeon who specializes in breast surgeries and liposuction, uses his Facebook page to alert patients and interested Facebook fans to new developments within the plastic surgery industry. Cummings recently publicized news about the FDA's approval of cohesive gel "gummy bear" implants in a Facebook post on his page. The social media website allowed the doctor to share the exciting information about the availability of this new breast augmentation option with his 135+ Facebook "friends."
Dr. Thomas Linter, an Atlanta plastic surgeon, also shares news and updates with his patients using new forms of social media. In addition to a Facebook page, Dr. Linter uses YouTube videos and Twitter to share updates and allow patients to get more information about his projects. Linter, too, recently informed patients about an exciting new plastic surgery procedure, using these social media tools. While Cummings heralded the "gummy bear" implants in a Facebook post, Litner used his blog to introduce patients to Latisse, the only FDA approved treatment to encourage eyelash growth.
In addition to finding out about new developments in plastic surgery, patients also benefit in several other ways from the shift towards social media tools as a means of communication between doctor and patient. For example, Dr. Litner offers special offers, coupons and rebates on his blog, including a coupon for $50.00 off a Botox treatment. Litner also has a video of a breast augmentation procedure on YouTube, so patients can be fully informed of what the procedure entails before even stepping foot into his office.
Networking and the ability to connect with other patients is also made possible when doctor's establish social media websites. Litner has YouTube video testimonials from appreciative patients so that he can not only show how a procedure is performed, but how happy the patients are with their results.
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