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Advancing Health through Social Media

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October 18, 2010

Advancing Health through Social Media

Lee Aase (Rochester,MN), Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. "Social media as a powerful tool for health."

Lee Aase is the Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media and is a well known Internet pioneer. The Mayo Clinic, based in Rochester, Minnesota, is the largest not-for-profit medical group in the world. Their objective is "group practice" involving all medical specialties. They believe that medical records belong to the patient and not to a single doctor.

Their only interest is the best interest of the patient.

The clinic was founded by Dr. Will and Charlie Mayo. One stayed home with the practice and the other taught and lectured.

Health education is much easier with social media. Patients can now obtain huge amounts of information without ever leaving home.

The Mayo Clinic has a ten-minute online video that explains its services that is not available on TV or in libraries. Their websites provide information about serious diseases and general wellness. Address: www.socialmediamayoclinic.org.

Most requested in formation: Cancer, heart disease and diabetes. But they also pay attention to the unusual, where answers may be hard to find.

Mayo Clinic websites receive several million visits per month (www.mayoclinic.com and www.mayoclinic.org). The clinic has patients from all 50 states and 150 countries.

Mr. Aase believes that these types of websites are extremely helpful in helping patients to be proactive about their health and to assist them in determining what type of doctor to visit. The goal is to bring the world together for the good of all and Lee believes that Dr. Will and Dr. Charlie would be huge fans of YouTube and Facebook.

Lee's background is in radio and TV and he was originally hired to publicize health care research for the clinic. However, he became involved in social media very early and has made significant contributions to the field. This has hugely accelerated in the last five years. The objective is to make answers easy to find for everybody and to facilitate communication with health care professionals (clinic doctors will also talk to individuals who simply phone them with questions from anywhere in the world).

There was some discussion of the Mayo Clinic Diet. Many published "Mayo Clinic Diets" are fake and not connected with the clinic. The clinic does offer a diet plan to lose weight safely and rapidly, then gradually transitioning to a long-term nutrition and exercise program.

Sharon suggested that current trends might be children's nutrition, and eating food produced closer to home and in season.