Smartphones: the new stethoscopes

Among the many instruments your doctor uses — stethoscope, thermometer, scale — the most valuable one may be in her pocket: a smartphone.   Due to increasingly compressed office visits, patients are becoming more active participants in managing their healthcare, and a new generation of Internet-savvy physicians is using social media to improve the way they run their practices. Currently, 67 percent of physicians use social media — sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest — for professional purposes, according to a recent report released by the Federation of State Medical Boards. One Yahoo Facebook user reported that her nurse practitioner gives advice over the social networking site, while another said sharing photos and videos can even save her a trip to the office.   “Social media is changing the way people give and receive information and, as a result, the medical profession is changing, too,” Lee Aase, social media director at the Mayo Clinic, tells Yahoo Health.