Twitter, the social networking tool, is emerging as a potentially valuable tool of real-time, healthcare information and medical alerts, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Joseph C. Kvedar, director of the Center for Connected Health, says short messages, or "tweets," delivered via Twitter has obvious advantages for sharing time-critical information such as disaster alerts and drug safety warnings, tracking disease outbreaks such as H1N1 flu or disseminating healthcare information.
"One way to look at Twitter is as a method of mass communication," Kvedar says in a statement.
Twitter applications are also available to help patients find out about clinical trials, or to link brief news alerts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, the use of social media and Internet-based outlets such as Twitter to communicate medical information requires a high degree of caution, to preserve confidentiality and patient privacy and to ensure information sources are accurate, reliable, and current, the article said.