Slowly but surely, social media is creeping into the health care industry’s vocabulary. Generally speaking, providers have been squeamish about utilizing social media for a number of reasons, with privacy and public relations concerns being two of the most prominent gripes.  Despite social media’s reputation as a double-edged sword, its influence is becoming increasingly apparent throughout the industry, but primarily with software products for now. With information exchange and patient interaction being more important than ever under  Stage 2 of the electronic health records meaningful use program, it’s no surprise that software is taking design cues from social media.  

Practice Fusion, a web-based EHR vendor is excellent example of social media’s influence on health care.  Funded by venture capital, all online, free to use, ad-supported, and wrapped up in a slick multiplatform user interface, Practice Fusion has more in common with Facebook than it does with Epic.   The similarity comes as no surprise to industry expert Vince Ciotti. “An EHR that looks like YouTube or Facebook will be more comfortable to 99.9 percent of users.” Practice Fusion’s social media flavor extends beyond the window dressing as well.  The EHR’s biggest selling point (beyond being free) is its emphasis on sharing information.  For providers, they focused on making the transfer of records and information between doctors as convenient as possible.  

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