Beijing Medical Microblog: Social Media Meets Socialized Medicine

“Let a hundred bloggers blossom”, to paraphrase China's legendary Chairman Mao Zedong, though the late Chairman might be taken aback by the hundreds of thousands of microblogs that have sprouted from China's fertile social media soil of late.

According to a survey conducted by the China Youth Daily newspaper, “Microblogs have become a popular way for Chinese to receive the latest news and information,” with 73.5 percent of survey respondents stating they use microblogs to get the latest information. Microblogs are considered to be an “important” source of news as the information they contain is quickly updated and distributed.

It's only natural, therefore, that an organization like the Beijing Emergency Medical Center (BEMC) would set up a microblog that can be consulted by netizens seeking first aid knowledge. The microblog is also equipped to respond to questions and will offer useful help and information in the event of a medical emergency.

The microblog's operators boasted that 40 “fans” registered the very first day, March 1st of 2011. By 7 pm, Beijing Emergency Medical Center had released a total of 70 messages on the microblog which discussed current trends in emergency work, some experiences of their first-aid personnel, general health knowledge and life & longevity tips.

One sample message read “We are working in Beijing Emergency Medical Center, roaming on the street in our ambulance 120 off the top of my head as a prototype.” I take this to mean the blogger is testing out the service while riding in an ambulance. China uses “120” as a medical emergency call number much the same as 911 in the USA and Canada, and 112 in Europe.

BEMC's new microblog perfectly suits China's robust Internet blogoverse – as the latter continues to grow, the former will take on even greater importance. Got a medical issue that just can't wait? Who ya gonna call... microbloggers! (via People's Daily Online and SINA, with thanks to Lady Bee for the tip!)