Physicians Leveraging Social Media to Educate Patients

Carrie Vaughan, May 3, 2012

This article appears in the April 2012 issue of Healthcare Marketing Advisor.

Many physicians are still hesitant about using social media in their professional lives. Concerns range from time commitment, liability, patient privacy, and unfamiliarity with the technology, to the appropriateness of social media interactions in a professional setting.

According to a study by QuantiaMD, 87% of physicians use at least one social media site for personal use, but only 67% use at least one social ­media site professionally. Of those physicians who use social media professionally, the plurality (28%) are participating in physician communities.

When it comes to sites that ­encourage patient-physician interaction, the percentage of physicians on those sites drops significantly. For example, only 15% of physicians are on Facebook professionally, 8% use YouTube, 8% read blogs, 3% use Twitter, and 3% are involved in patient communities.

But physicians should know that social media sites are not just a healthcare marketing or recruitment tool. They can also help educate and engage patients—and physicians play a vital role in those conversations.

Carrie Vaughan Carrie Vaughan is a senior editor with HealthLeaders magazine. She can be reached at cvaughan@healthleadersmedia.com.

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