Social Media and Oncology: The Past, Present, and Future of Electronic Communication Between Physician and Patient

Semin Oncol. 2015 Oct;42(5):764-71. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2015.07.005. Epub 2015 Jul 10.


The relationship between patient and physician is in flux with the advent of electronic media that are advancing and enhancing communication. We perform a retrospective, current, and forward-looking examination of the technologies by which information is exchanged within the healthcare community. The evolution from e-mail and listservs to blogs and the modern social networks is described, with emphasis on the advantages and pitfalls of each medium, especially in regard to maintaining the standards of privacy and professionalism to which doctors are held accountable. We support the use of contemporary platforms like Twitter and Facebook for physicians to establish themselves as trustworthy online sources of medical knowledge, and anticipate ongoing collaboration between researchers, patients, and their advocates in trial design and accrual.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blogging
  • Communication*
  • Confidentiality
  • Electronic Mail
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Medical Oncology*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Professionalism
  • Social Media*
  • Social Networking