Social networking in medicine

I read two articles today about social networking in medicine. Social networking is in every other industry, why not medicine? Just need to figure out how to use it.

1. TR
2. MDG

From the perspective of manufacturers, social networking can track how influential a medical practitioner is in spreading the use of a technology that they recently started prescribing or using. By mining medical-claims data and analyzing partnerships and referrals, manufacturers can market to those that are the most influential.

Analyzing the network of patients can even show some patterns like similar weight gain in a network. However, there could be other factors involved and correlation does not always mean causation.

More positively, social networking among patients can bring patients together through the web to exchange advice, encouragement and experiences. Specifically, the article talked about diabetes management. However, the article mentions many shortcomings to the websites such as lack of security and not enough disclaimers.