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By Gregg A. Masters, MPH

The continued penetration of social media tools, platforms and derivatives into medicine in general and oncology in particular continues to make steady if not uneven headway into the workflow of medical groups, physician networks if not individual practices.

Still somewhat of a ‘show me the money’ value proposition, social media leverages widely accessible web-based and mobile technologies to create and share user-generated content in a collaborative and more often than not near real time social context. The ultimate promise is, that it’s effective uptake will enable new opportunities for physicians, other healthcare professionals and even certain ‘calcified institutions’ i.e., hospitals, to interact with patients in new and different ways.

In cancer care social media can serve as a platform for patient education (see: @Chemotopia) if not as an authoritative health messaging resource, where oncologists fulfill their role as trusted publishers if not de-facto ‘search nodes on the web’. Additionally many believe these emerging technologies can add to professional development, see @TumorBoard, knowledge sharing, and even where appropriate direct patient interaction, if key legal and privacy concerns can be addressed prospectively.

In the professional development department, the video below was shot on November 16 2012 at American Journal of Managed Care’s (AJMC) ‘Translating Evidence-Based Research Into Value-Based Decisions in Oncology’.

Featuring Dennis Scanlon, PhD, who addresses the ‘Importance of Payer/Provider Relationships’. Dr. Scanlon is Professor of Health Policy and Administration, The Pennsylvania State University, stresses: ‘it is very important to bridge the gap between providers and payers in oncology management’ as ‘there is a lot of variation in the cost and quality of care in oncology. The goal is to identify the appropriate payments for quality care.’