Episode 12: Kevin Pho, social media’s No. 1 physician voice

Welcome to the final episode of season two. This season has welcomed guests from outside of the medical mainstream.

Season two’s final guest is Dr. Kevin Pho, a primary care physician, author, public speaker and media consultant. He’s best known for his platform KevinMD, which generates over 3 million monthly page views and communicates with more than 250,000 followers on Twitter and Facebook.

He is a leading expert on how social and digital media can connect doctors with each other and their patients to improve medical care.

Here are just some of Kevin’s thought-provoking comments from the show:

On doctors helping patients navigate health info online

“Doctors and patients should be partners… A lot of doctors I talk to don’t want their patients online. But I always tell them that it’s going to happen anyway whether we like it or not, so we might as well partner with patients and help guide them to reputable sources of health information, educate them in terms of what kind of websites are accurate, what kind of websites are legitimate, what are some of the tip-offs that they should look for whenever they’re online.”

On why clinicians should be on social media

“Clinicians need to use social media to make our voices heard. Our healthcare world is changing by the day. There’s going to be some seismic changes in the coming years. I think it’s important for practicing clinicians to share their story and have a voice in that conversation.”

Advice for doctors joining social media

“I always say you’ve got to start with your goals first. Why do you want to use social media? Do you want to use it to educate patients? Do you want to use it to guide patients to a better source of health information? Do you want to use it to connect and learn from your colleagues? Do you want to use it to debate healthcare reform? Do you want to use it to advocate for a cause? …

On Kevin’s biggest social media fears

“Instead of bringing people together, social media is making people more tribal. I think that’s really shutting down the discourse. We’re obviously seeing that in the political world. My biggest fear is that some of that’s going to seep into the healthcare world, as well, where you have patients who may just shut out the medical world and only listen to opinions and stories that they already agree with.”

On censuring health misinformation online

“To their credit, (Facebook and YouTube) are altering their algorithms. They’re suppressing information that’s clearly false. But I certainly don’t think they go far enough. I think that when it comes to health misinformation, it has the potential, of course, to cost lives. I do think that they need to be more accountable for the health misinformation out there and I think they need to do more than they’re currently doing.”

READ: Full transcript of our discussion with Kevin Pho

* * *

Fixing Healthcare is a co-production of Dr. Robert Pearl and Jeremy Corr. Subscribe to the show via Apple Podcasts or wherever you find podcasts. Join the conversation or suggest a guest by following the show on Twitter and LinkedIn.