Wednesday, January 12, 2011

AAFP Connection

There have been a few stated excuses why physicians are hesitant to utilize social media services for things like peer to peer communication and for discussion of clinical cases. The statements that are made are they physicians are concerned about issues of security and privacy. Don't get me wrong, I completely agree with these statements.

It's just that organizations, especially physician membership organizations, have been trying to come up with the answer of how to build a site by which physicians can feel "safe" to discuss these type of issues.

My professional organization, the American Academy of Family Physicians, announced on their Facebook page yesterday that they are introducing a platform on their website that is "safe" and "secure" to encourage family physician members increased communication.

The name of this service is "AAFP Connection," and I give a brief review of this service in the video above. Visually, the interface is nice. There is no doubt that one of the things that they wanted to do is to make the user interface fairly easy to navigate.

AAFP Connection has the equivalent of twitter/facebook updates and the ability to store photos. Something interesting is the ability to upload documents and share these as well. I wonder how much this feature will be utilized by users.

Of course, the big question is this: Will AAFP members use this platform? My initial gut feeling is no. I have been a member of the AAFP for a number of years now, and the in the "communication generation" before this one, there was promotion of the use of e-mail listservs. What happened there was it was popular for a number of months, and then people didn't utilize as much. For me, there wasn't too much real dialogue, and a lot of people used it for their own self-promotion - thereby giving it a "spam" like feel.

The failure of AAFP Connection is not going to be because of the AAFP. It's just that for those who use twitter and facebook, how can a busy physician check another social network? For those who are not even on social media, trying to explain the concept of a social network will be difficult. The good part is that their huge AAFP Committee Cluster meetings will take place at the end of this month. Maybe some good brainstorming can take place to see how to effectively roll this product out....


mdstudent31 said...

I'm interested to see which Commissions discuss the platform. Being on the COE and CMMS, I can definitely plug your comments in at some point. Maybe another topic we can talk about on the 20th? If you have any specific things that you think should be addressed besides what you talk about in this post, please let me know. Your feedback is very helpful.

The platform is pretty nice though. Sharing documents is interesting, though I'm wondering how the sharing of journal articles that require subscriptions will be regulated... because once you download it, you could share it as a document in there if I am not mistaken.

DrV said...

DA. Yes, the challenge for any nascent physician network: How do we get docs to pull time from their current social properties to come to this new network. Tough. Has to be value driven. But tough to create measurable value.

murrayjones said...

I believe at some point someone will solve the feature/usability/marketing puzzle and create a great social network for physicians.

I think one of the big issues that many organizations such as AAFP have is that they do not nurture the community over time and improve the features. Mainly because the incentives are not equal to the amount of work needed to develop a successful social network. Where a startup has numerous incentives to continue growing.