Twitter: a game changer or a time waster?

In my column in this month’s ACR Bulletin I report on a Tweet Chat that we held back in April on the topic “Is Fee for Service dead”. It was a lively discussion and I used many of the great ideas that emerged in preparing my address to the College’s  Physician leadership for the annual Leadership conference.

Twitter is only 7 years old and yet it has emerged as a communications game changer. It’s my default source for a quick read on major news and events. It’s also a time efficient way to scan what is happening in the health policy world in which I live as the ACR’s Economics Commission Chair. My follower count remains modest and is significantly less than that of my 13 year old niece! That said, I consider Twitter a useful channel to spread the word about how imaging delivers value in patient care. Right now I am building my followers within the healthcare community with an emphasis on imaging. Eventually I hope to extend my reach to patients in the spirit of our Imaging 3.0 initiative that aims to fully engage patients in their imaging care.

There are many physicians using Twitter to both gather and disseminate information. Yet not all are convinced. One busy private practice radiologist had this to say: “Twitter! You have got to be kidding; some of us actually have to work all day and hardly get a chance to use the bathroom, much less fool around with social media”.

While it is certainly possible to while away a lot of time on social media, as I say in my Bulletin article, Twitter is not just @KanyeWest and @KimKardashian. If anything, the  busier I get, the more I want to know the message in 140 characters or less.