Social media in an area of public health: Palliative care

One of the advantages of the web and social networks is that it can bring together people with a very specific interest. People who would perhaps not have been connected otherwise, or who wouldn’t have been able to share knowledge and information outside for example conferences on the topic. And for those of us not being specialised in the topic, we would have a very limited chance of knowing what is new in that specific field.

I just came across a public health example of a specific area that are using social media to share knowledge. Pallimed – a hospice and palliative medicine blog is a blog that initially was developed to help keep track of interesting articles from many different journals that are relevant to palliative care. However, the blog expanded and soon also aimed to review media coverage of hospice and palliative care issues and thereby make it easier for the readers to orient themselves in what is new in Palliative care. It provides a forum for people to discuss and a good starting point for obtaining further information (eg. through lists, links, presentations etc.).

The authors are primarily people with a medical background, but the blog is aimed at interdisciplinary health care professionals in hospice and palliative care. Secondary, it also has patients, families, media, other disciplines and specialties interested in palliative care as their audience.

In a blog post, arguments for Why palliative care needs social media are given as well as a guide on how to use social media to advance palliative care. Besides the different articles/posts on the many many aspects of palliative care, the blog has an extensive list of Hospice and Palliative Medicine blogs.

Not only being of use to people working with Palliative care, I find it thrilling that others (like me) can read along. I can get a feel of what is happening in the area and potentially identify people, researchers I could contact, if I needed more information.

The topics and level of complexity varies in the different posts on Pallimed. From more complex articles (eg. Denosumab, palifermin and the cost of supportive cancer care) to slightly more approachable articles like LIFE Before Death Short Films – Week 10 of 50, drawing attention to a larger project entitled LIFE Before Death and events in relation to that.

One thing I have not been able to find out about Pallimed is how internationally founded it is. Is this only or mostly an US initiative or does it reach across continents and countries? Going across not only disciplines but also nations, universities, cities would give a broad and comprehensive picture of palliative care and hospices and only make sense since this is one of the advantages of web2.0.

Taking a broader public health perspective, it would be wonderful if other areas of public health could set up blogs and websites like this. Perhaps, or rather more likely, there are already some out there, but I might need some help finding them. Therefore all tips and recommendations are of course more than welcome.

For those interested in Pallimed here are also links to their presence on Twitter and Facebook


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