Urology Care Foundation Envisions the Future
One of the greatest challenges and opportunities in urology today is to determine how to leverage the rapidly growing number of social media tools to help educate our patients. For years, the Urology Care Foundation has been a comprehensive resource for patients to learn about a wide variety of urological conditions and their treatments.
Recently, I was invited to participate in an upcoming meeting of the Technology and Publications Committee of the Urology Care Foundation (UCF). The purpose of this meeting is to help find ways to better ways to serve our patients, in part by developing even better education and outreach tools.
Taking a Poll
For the past month or so, I’ve been trying to think about what I might be able to contribute to this upcoming meeting. Although the UCF has been serving patients for years, I first learned about it myself from a colleague on Twitter. It made me wonder – were there patients, and other physicians like myself, who simply were not aware of these amazing resources?
— Dr. Brian Stork (@StorkBrian) October 31, 2015
To answer this question, I turned to ‘Twitter Poll” to help me do some basic reconnaissance work. The results of this particular poll suggest to me, there are a number of technologically savvy patients these UCF resources have yet to reach.
Do You Prefer to Read or Watch a Video?
Traditionally, educational materials in urology have been created in written form. Video platforms, such as YouTube, have opened up new and exciting opportunities for both patients and physicians.
Many patients tell me, they are viewing videos of their medical diagnosis online, before they come into the office to discuss treatment. Similarly, I’m now turning to YouTube myself to make certain that I am up to date on surgical procedures I routinely perform. The results of this poll, I think, reflect the shift many clinicians are beginning to see in their offices.
Moving from Static to Interactive with Live Streaming
Periscope and Blab are both real-time, live streaming platforms that are very easy to use. Periscope allows viewers to ask questions during the live stream. Blab makes it possible for up to four persons to simultaneously participate in the live stream event, and for anyone watching to ask questions.
However, I would caution patient users and physicians to think very carefully about privacy and HIPAA compliance issues before using either platform.
Currently, I have more experience using Periscope. Although Periscope live streams are only available on the site for 24 hours, they can easily be preserved, beyond that time, on YouTube or Katch with the push of a button.
What Kind of Future do YOU Envision?
One thing I’ve learned over and over in my career, if it doesn’t work for the patient, it simply doesn’t work.
The future of patient education in urology is very, very exciting. If you are a patient, we really need to hear from you. What does the patient education experience of the future look like to YOU?