BENFORD, CA – In a creative effort to raise awareness for colon cancer screening, one California group of gastroenterologists has taken an innovative step toward bringing colonoscopy into the bright light of the digital age. By incorporating social media interfaces like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram into the colonoscopy experience, they’re conquering patients’ previous reservations about invasive cancer screening.
“People are always so scared about getting their first colonoscopy; we’re trying to show them that it’s not something to hide about – it’s something to share with the ones they love,” glowed Cesar Gazpalto, MD, as he discussed their group’s effort during an interview in his endoscopy suite.
Their full-connection approach to cancer screening allows patients to keep a real-time social update of the experience with friends and family – complete with tweets, status updates, and artsy-filtered photos.
“I wasn’t too sure about all of this social media stuff at first, but when my quilting group reacted to my beautiful pictures, I knew I had made a good choice,” remarked Mildred McMackelwain, one of the first patients to embrace the new approach.
As local demand grows for these services, the Benford Gastroenterology practice is still getting some glitches worked out of the privacy features. (Mildred’s photos, as well as video of several risqué remarks she made while under sedation, were incidentally uploaded to Youtube by a disgruntled lab technician.) However, these appear to be minor speedbumps on the road to a brave new world of social media in medicine. Mildred and many others are finding out that when it comes to staying connected, there’s no area of life too private to be reached by the helpful hand of the internet.
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