UAE hosts its first-ever social media healthcare summit


Health Sciences, UAE social media, UAE, Health
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Dubai - A whopping 99.06% of the UAE population is active on social media.

By Saman Haziq

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Published: Wed 11 Dec 2019, 10:59 AM

Last updated: Wed 11 Dec 2019, 1:08 PM

With social media becoming an integral part of our lives, healthcare professionals are using social media platforms effectively to engage with patients, share experiences and also creating awareness.
To discuss how this social network can be an important health resource, the UAE is holding the first of its kind healthcare social media summit in the region at the Health Sciences on December 9-10.
The UAE's social media usage statistics as per Global Media Insight reveals that a whopping 99.06 per cent of the UAE population is active on social media.
This means that in 2019, 9.52 million people come online on social media almost every day out of a population of 9.61 million people.
For the unique two-day summit, MBRU joined forces with the Mayo Clinic and American Hospital Dubai to bring together a number of local and international healthcare experts to analyse the impact of social media on healthcare and chart the best way forward.
Talking about the importance of hosting the summit in the UAE, medical director of Mayo Clinic, Farris Timimi, said the hosting the summit in the UAE was a unique opportunity as the country has more broadband availability than any other country in the world along with a 100 per cent penetration in terms of social media. " UAE is a technological marvel and creates a unique opportunity for healthcare professionals to partner with patients in digital conversations. Our goal is to show them how to use social media more professionally and strategically and to treat this as a tool by following the right rules so as to not commit unprofessional acts and understand how to use it positively."
Speaking about professionalism in social media, Timimi said: "There are two aspects to professionalism in social media. The first is addressing unprofessional content online such as medical misinformation. Sometimes someone with significant influence may say things that are inappropriate and harmful such as encouraging not getting a vaccine or not going through a proper diagnostic screening for checking malignancy. Part of our goal as healthcare professionals is to provide content that addresses this kind of medical misinformation. We are the voice of a large choir that prevents that single voice from misdirecting people. This is one half of professionalism, which is doing the right thing. The other half is not doing the wrong thing such as not being self-promotional, endorsing strategies that are not appropriate, not engaging in a troll-like behavior online." Timimi added that the goal of social media is to spread awareness through various digital conversations.
The summit offered attendees invaluable insights into the current trends and impact of social media on healthcare institutions and patients. The summit also featured key topics such as how social media interventions can be optimized to engage populations and improve health outcomes, identify common pitfalls to avoid when using the medium in healthcare and identify the right strategies to create and consolidate academic reputation on social media.
In a panel discussion on public health regulation and the future that saw a number of government officials from the Ministry of Health and Prevention, Dubai Health Authority and Dubai Healthcare City Authority, officials discussed the importance of authenticating any and every social media post that comes there way.  Representing the Ministry of Health and Prevention, Dr Amin Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary of public health and licensing, said: " Social media influencers shoulder a big responsibility to spread the right message among the community,which is why they should be extra cautious before releasing any message on social media platforms. Be it an advertisement or post about any product, social media users must take information from the authentic source such as ministry website rather than just believing or forwarding any message or post about any vaccine or drug on social media."

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