One in four physicians uses social media daily

A new survey shows that about one in four physicians uses social media daily or multiple times a day to scan or explore medical information, and 14 percent use social media each day to contribute new information, according to an oncologist at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

The survey of 485 oncologists and , also found that on a weekly basis or more, 61 percent of physicians scan for information and 46 percent contribute new information. More than half said they use online physician-only communities but only 7 percent said they use . The work was published recently in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Oncologists are more likely to use social media to keep up with innovation, while primary care physicians are more likely to use social media to get in touch with peers and learn from them, the survey found.

Since the survey was conducted a year and a half ago, it's likely that more physicians are using social media now, says Robert S. Miller, M.D., an assistant professor of oncology and oncology medical information officer at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. The amount of information required for is growing exponentially, he says, and social media provides "a very valid construct for physicians to keep current."

"What did surprise us was the heavy use of online physician-only communities," Miller says. "It's possible that many physicians feel more comfortable with that type of social media instead of a more like Twitter or ."

In March 2011, Miller and colleagues e-mailed the survey, about attitudes and usage of social media, to a random sample of 1,695 practicing and primary care physicians found among the American Medical Association's Physician Masterfile. Social media was defined as "Internet-based applications that allow for the

creation and exchange of user-generated content, including , professional online communities, wikis, blogs and microblogging." Of 485 practicing physicians who responded, nearly sixty percent said social media is beneficial, engaging and good way to get current, high-quality information (279 respondents); enables them to care for patients more efficiently (281 respondents); and improves the quality of patient care they deliver (291 respondents). What influenced a physician's usage of social media most were perceived ease of use and usefulness. Physicians who had positive attitudes toward social media were more likely to use it. Neither age nor gender affected use of social media.

More studies are needed to determine how social media impacts physicians' knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors, and its usage among other populations of health care professionals, Miller says.

More information: www.jmir.org/2012/5/e117/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Journalists 'can't work without social media,' study shows

Sep 20, 2012

(Phys.org)—More than a quarter of UK journalists are unable to work without social media despite an increasing number of concerns about productivity, privacy and the future of journalism, according to the 2012 social journalist ...

Can social media solve the US healthcare crisis?

May 10, 2012

The creation of a social media videoconferencing platform geared towards healthcare might pave the way for enhanced use of social media in the world of healthcare according to a study published this month in the International Jo ...

Researchers recommend 'dual citizenship' on social media

Apr 18, 2011

With ubiquitous social media sites like Facebook and Twitter blurring private and professional lines, there is an increasing need for physicians to create a healthy distance between their work and home online identities, ...

Recommended for you

Blending faith and science to combat obesity

2 hours ago

Science and religion may seem like uneasy partners at times, but when it comes to promoting healthy lifestyles, one UConn Health researcher has shown they can be an effective combination.

Research project puts stroke patients back on their feet

3 hours ago

Finding the will to exercise routinely can be challenging enough for most people, but a stroke presents even more obstacles. Yet aerobic exercise may be crucial for recovery and reducing the risk of another ...

Air quality and unconventional oil and gas sites

6 hours ago

Research suggesting air pollutants released by unconventional oil and gas production are well over recommended levels in the US is published today in the open access journal Environmental Health. High levels of benzene, hydrog ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.