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Bigbypic2 By Dr. JudyAnn Bigby

Last week the Boston Globe reported here on how social media can be a helpful, yet tricky tool for physicians and their ability to communicate with patients. Although I did not actively participate in using tools such as Facebook and Twitter when I was treating patients, I’m delighted that these important broadcast channels have become integral to my leadership in state government.

My office’s Twitter account recently surpassed 1,000 followers – and is growing every day. We recently launched a blog for all Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies as a platform for communications with all residents. Similarly, agencies that fall under HHS, the Departments of Veterans’ Services (DVS) and Public Health (DPH) for example, are actively using Facebook pages to engage with stakeholders.

These important communications vehicles help us cultivate dialogue and debate about issues that impact all residents of the Commonwealth. Beyond postings to the content-rich HHS websites that branch out from the state’s main portal,, we’re also blogging, using Facebook and ‘tweeting’ about the work we do. Through these various channels, my office and the agencies it oversees are fostering open, online conversation and garnering stakeholder feedback that reflects a wide range of perspectives. This exchange is essential to successfully working on behalf of all Commonwealth residents.

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