How physician influencers in UAE can change patients' lives
Being on social media helps debunk myths and false information posted online as marketing gimmicks.
If you are a doctor in this age of social media, your 'clinic' is no longer limited to the four walls of hospitals and centres. Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook can all become a platform to reach out to patients and help improve public health - just like how Dr Anwar Alhamadi does it.
Dr Alhamadi, a cosmetic surgeon and dermatologist at MBRU - and an influencer with 155,000 followers on Instagram - on Monday shared at the Middle East Healthcare Social Media Summit in Dubai how he has been educating people and raising awareness via social media.
"Medicine can be a dry topic so I feel engaging people through social media is a great tool to educate them about issues in a fun and responsible way. Around 80 per cent of my Instagram posts are related to my profession as a dermatologist, which I feel can create awareness," he said.
Dr Alhamadi said he also endorses DHA's animated educational posts, which attract a lot of kids, adolescents and women who learn to manage their skin issues better.
"I once posted about the importance of using emollients during winter for skin protection, and I was happy to receive messages from a mother who said her six-year-old has started following the tips I gave for skin care in order to protect from itching."
Gone are the days when patients are given informative brochures that eventually end up in trash bins. These days, information is just a tap and a click away, so Dr Alhamadi makes the most of social media's popularity.
Some of his Snapchat stories have been viewed as many as 1.9 million times in just a month.
"Social media has helped me break barriers between doctors and patients and also get rid of this white-coat stereotype image of a doctor, which can be quite scary for children," said the doctor who won the social media summit award in 2015 for the positive impact he had created for posting inspiring stories.
He added that as a physician, being on social media helps him debunk myths and false information posted online as marketing gimmicks.
While Dr Alhamadi said he doesn't diagnose patients on social media, he had once helped a Netizen get early treatment for a serious condition. He received a picture from a patient living in another country and from the image, he saw signs of malignant melanoma, a type of cancer that develops from pigment-containing cells.
"I was concerned but didn't want to scare the patient which is why I told the person to immediately visit a dermatologist. A week later, the same patient messaged me on social media thanking me as they were able to detect the disease at an early stage," Dr Alhamadi said.
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