One In Four Physi­cians Uses So­cial Me­dia Daily

Wellness Update - - Health News -

BALTIMORE, Md. – A sur­vey from an on­col­o­gist at Johns Hop­kins Kim­mel Can­cer Cen­ter 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.

The sur­vey of 485 on­col­o­gists and pri­mary care physi­cians, 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 Twit­ter. 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, 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 med­i­cal prac­tice 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 pub­lic space like Twit­ter or Face­book.”

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 on­col­o­gists 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 so­cial net­work­ing, 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.

For more in­for­ma­tion go to: http:// www.hop­kins­medicine.org/news

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