By Ken Terry
Physicians are using social media at a higher rate than the rest of the population, according to a new survey cited in American Medical News. But in their professional use of social media, they’re still shying away from contact with their own patients or even with online patient communities.
An August 2011 survey by the online physician learning collaborative QuantiaMD showed that 87% of physicians use social media.
This finding is in line with the results of a Frost & Sullivan poll conducted between April and May, which indicated that 84% of phyicians were using social media for personal purposes. A study published in August by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 65% of the general adult population used social media.
Susan Giurleo, PhD, a psychologist and consultant who blogs about social media at BizSavvy Therapist, has some other other theories. Besides doctors’ rapid adoption of mobile devices, which makes it easy to dip into Facebook or Twitter on their lunch breaks, they like to communicate with other physicians across the country and around the world. "It’s a really good way to keep up with information and research," she says.
The QuantiaMD survey shows that 67% of physicians are using social media for professional purposes, and the sites they visit are revealing: The top destinations are physician online communities (28%) and LinkedIn (17%). Facebook comes in at 15%, but that’s a small percentage compared to the 61% of physicians who use Facebook in their personal lives. Just 3% of doctors Tweet in their daily work, and only 9% use it for personal reasons.