By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There is no doubt that all sorts of social media tools are impacting our lives in both good and negative ways and more than fifty percent of Americans regularly text messages during the course of a day. But medicine has been woefully slow in using these tools.

Part of the problem is that physicians, hospitals and their practices have been tasked with the rapid introduction of electronic medical records and governmental rules that mostly have focused on data and demographic data collection rather than opportunities to enhance care. But, slowly this is changing.

A report in the journal Pediatrics finds that an effort to use text messaging to urge parents to vaccinate their children for the flu has had a great deal of success…leading to a 73% vaccination rate in the group that received these texts compared with 57% who did not receive the texts.

Ultimately it will be tools like this that impact care in the ways physicians have hoped and we will see more and more of it.

Dr. Brian McDonough