Social Media could help pharmacists to support their practice and to contribute to community health, researchers from Indonesia say. But how extensively are pharmacists actually tapping this potential?
By Andi Hermansyah
What do most people have in common nowadays? The answer is Social Media. Almost six out of ten people that you meet are likely to have a social media account. Social media has broadly affected our lives, and it is common to see people read stories on Facebook, share photos using Instagram, watch YouTube videos and chat with others via WhatsApp.
Health care professionals – including pharmacists – are also not immune from the social media impact. Although pharmacists mostly use social media for personal and social purposes, a group of researchers from Indonesia observed that social media offers a certain potential for pharmacists’ contribution to health care.
To find out more, the researchers conducted a number of focus group discussions involving community pharmacists. Their findings, recently published in the Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology, demonstrated that pharmacists often used WhatsApp – followed by Facebook and Instagram – for both professional and personal purposes.
According to the researchers, the active “presence” of pharmacists in social media can be useful to promote public health, increase patient awareness about medication safety and inform about pharmacy related products and services. For example, WhatsApp has been used as a platform to combat misleading information and hoaxes in health care. The participants felt that the public benefits from pharmacist activities in social media, as it allows people to contact them in case of problems with their medicine and health.
The participating pharmacists were confident and motivated to use social media for improving the health of their communities. However, such involvement also comes with a number of risks, such as a great expenditure of time, lack of privacy and, in the worst case, lawsuits because of inappropriate responses. These factors may influence whether a pharmacist continues to undertake an active role in social media.
Read the original article here:
Andi Hermansyah, Anila Impian Sukorini, Fadli Asmani, Kandi Aryani Suwito & Titik Puji Rahayu: The contemporary role and potential of pharmacist contribution for community health using social media, 04.12.2019.