90 percent of physicians operate at least one social media site
But few doctors engage with patients online.
In a recent AmedNews.com article, Gabriel Bosslet says the “rise in social media
has been meteoric” amongst physicians. According to Bosslet, the number of physicians active on social media sites increases so quickly that his study
regarding the phenomenon was outdated by its official release.
A poll by the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds
that 65 percent of online adults use social media. Fairly expected, right? The surprise comes in QuantiaMD’s survey of 4,032 physicians. The survey
states that nearly 90 percent of physicians have operated at least one social media site.
The question is: How are physicians using social media?
Studies show that physicians stick to managing personal profiles on their social media accounts. This limits online physician-to-patient communication.
There’s very little patient engagement and interaction.
Mary Modahl, chief communications officer for QuantiaMD, says that connecting with patients through popular online sites “crosses over a
professional/personal line that physicians would like to draw as a fairly bright line.” She says that, coupled with physicians being largely unaware of
online-patient communities, accounts for the lack of physician-to-patient communication.
Fortunately, not all hope is lost. Modahl believes that the future holds possibilities for increased online communication between both sides once
physicians are more aware of the demand for engagement by those frequenting online patient communities.
While physicians need some time to warm up to this idea, they have to get with the program fairly quickly. According to Nancy Fabozzi, Frost and Sullivan
health care market researcher, patients want online communication with their physician at the rate of expedience and efficiency that social media allows.
Dan Dunlop, a contributor for Ragan’s Health care Communication News, is president and CEO of Jennings, a North Carolina-based health care marketing
agency. Charles Ramsey is a health care marketing intern at Jennings and a Wake Forest University student.
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