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Outreach to the Virtual Neighborhood

Annual Report - Winter 2010

By Mary Brolley

If you build it, will they come? The Office of Physician Relations wanted to find out.

John Little, a program manager in the office, set out to create an online community for a global physician audience curious about what M. D. Anderson had to offer their patients.

Supplying practical and relevant content to physicians through a coordinated multi-channel approach is the goal of Physician Relations’ Internet and social media outreach. Central to the initiative is the Web site, which has processed nearly 40,000 searches for faculty members’ profiles and supplied more than 500 downloadable guides for referring physicians.

The office’s Twitter channel has proven a superb marketing vehicle, Little says. “Besides providing real-time messaging to our nearly 1,800 followers, our presence on Twitter drives awareness of our other Internet sites and of the institution,” he says.

A secure site, myMDAnderson for Physicians, has become a useful guide for physicians who want to refer their patients to M. D. Anderson. Aimed squarely at a professional medical audience, it answers questions, imparts knowledge and assures physicians of their importance in the process.

Created in 2005, myMDAnderson for Physicians now allows nearly 6,000 physician users from more than 80 countries access to their patients’ electronic medical records so that they can track their care.

What's Your Doctor Thinking? Does He Tweet?

Patients who want to keep up with Anas Younes, M.D., can follow him. On Twitter, that is.

Anas Younes, M.D.        

With a legion of fans on Twitter and Facebook, the lymphoma specialist and professor in the Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma tweets and posts links to what he’s reading and his responses to it. Readers who respond or ask a question get a prompt and direct answer from him.

Like many other faculty and staff at the institution, Younes has embraced social media to share information and connect with others. He’s a frequent contributor to Cancerwise, M. D. Anderson’s new blog, and appears on videos on the site. A champion of clinical trials, Younes feels that these new ways of connecting may help him accrue patients for this research.

“Our YouTube video links have drawn thousands of viewers,” he says. “As a result, we’ve quadrupled the number of patients enrolled in our clinical trials for relapsed Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

Once readers find the institution through Facebook or Twitter, the hope is that they’ll stay to explore the site, watch videos or download podcasts. In addition, iTunes U offers M. D. Anderson speeches, lectures, interviews, news and information. Students access content through electronic devices such as iPods, and computers can stay connected to expert information anytime, anywhere.

— Mary Brolley

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center