CommonSense Blog

How Three Innovative Physicians Use Periscope

By Missy Voronyak | Jun 19, 2015

Periscope, the live-streaming app, launched nearly three months ago. Owned by Twitter, the app can be used with either a Twitter account or a phone number and allows anyone with a smart phone the ability to share their view with people around the globe.

Scoping tourist attractions and beautiful views are a staple of Periscope broadcasts, but one of the best ways we’re seeing it used is for education. Experts or advocates for a topic important to them can live stream themselves talking and answering questions that come through in the comments.

You’ll find Periscope accounts by physicians across many specialties, but so far most of them are lurking to see what it’s all about. Yet there are a small handful of innovative, early-adopters who are making their mark and finding a way to make a difference in people’s lives through live-streaming.

Featuring three physicians using Periscope

Neil Floch, MD, Fairfield County Bariatrics & Surgical Specialists in Connecticut (1,107 Periscope followers).

Neil Floch MD using PeriscopeA passionate advocate for preventing and treating obesity, Dr. Floch uses Periscope daily to host “Ask Dr. Floch” sessions. He always begins with a statement that he can only answer general questions and cannot answer a specific problem people may have.

In a phone call this week, Floch shared, “From a medical standpoint, I use Periscope to educate people – specifically on obesity and the world obesity pandemic. I want to give them the true, accurate, medically-supported evidence of what is causing the epidemic,” shared Floch. “Two thirds of the US is overweight or obese. I want to reach out to as many people as I can. When you can see someone talking, that is an incredible advantage.”

Floch has also used Periscope to broadcast events his practice is hosting, such as a bariatric surgery fashion show at Lord & Taylor. He tweeted there were 150 people attending in person, but they reached another 588 people who watched on Periscope.

Mark Vaughan, MD, @doctorvaughan, Auburn Medical Group in California (280 Periscope followers).

Mark Vaughan MD PeriscopeA primary care physician, Dr. Vaughan, uses Periscope throughout his day to educate people about general health topics. He frequently scopes procedures, such as giving cortisone injections and performing skin biopsies (see an archived scope of a rash biopsy here).

Vaughan is becoming popular for his daily “Ask the Doctor” scopes, scoping from an exam room with an assistant holding the phone for him. Patients ask general questions about health issues such as childhood obesity, skin concerns and mononucleosis.

It is clear Vaughan enjoys being in front of the camera and his patients do, too. He shared with a chuckle, “There’s an interesting phenomenon that happens when you put a person in front of a camera, they behave differently. The patients are more positive during procedures and give me the impression that they think I’m wonderful.”

In addition to Periscope, you can also catch Vaughan on his weekly internet radio program called Medically Speaking Radio.

Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD, @jaminbrahmbhatt, Personalized Urology & Robotics (PUR) Clinic at South Lake Hospital, in affiliation with Orlando Health. (154 Periscope followers).

A urologist on a mission to educate about men’s health issues, Dr. Brahmbhatt and colleague Sijo Parekattil, MD, are driving cross-country in an all-electric Tesla and making pit stops to host public health events. It’s called the Drive for Men’s Health (@drive4men) and Brahmbhatt is using Periscope to extend their reach, scoping the health presentations and more personal, fun interactive broadcasts during their trip.

Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD PeriscopeAlready making a difference with Periscope, Brahmbhatt shared a story with me of a female Periscope viewer who encouraged her husband to watch Brahmbhatt’s scopes with her. Doing so convinced him to set a doctor appointment with his primary care provider for preventative health care. In addition, when Brahmbhatt and Parekattil rolled through her town, the viewer invited them to stop by her office and they had an opportunity to meet face-to-face. Following the visit, her female colleagues also were successful in encouraging their husbands to set appointments for preventative care.

A national survey by Orlando Health found that more than 80 percent of men could remember the make and model of their first car, but only about half could remember their last check up with a doctor. Brahmbhatt and Parekattil are definitely making a difference by getting attention from both the Tesla and Periscope.

Periscope at Medical Meetings and Conferences

We’re also seeing Periscope become a part of medical meetings, such as American Society of Clinical Oncology (@ASCO) in Chicago a couple weeks ago. Check out this post from my colleague Christiana Pascale sharing how it went. Also, Mayo Clinic (@MayoClinic) has been experimenting with Periscope, launching it at the Mayo Clinic Social Media Health Network Summit. They also scoped a dedication ceremony of Mayo Clinic Square.

Additional physicians actively using Periscope to check out:

Sanjay Gupta, MD @drsanjaygupta, Neurosurgeon

Jay Gordon MD, @JayGordonMDFAAP, Pediatrician

Will Kirby, MD, @drwillkirby, Dermatologist

Paul Nassif, MD, @drpaulnassif, Plastic Surgeon

Jeffrey Guterman, PhD, @jeffreyguterman, Therapist