Healthcare News & Insights

Top social networking benefits for doctors and patients

More doctors are turning to social networking sites for professional purposes. What are the main benefits of social networks for medical providers?

Most (90%) of physicians report using at least one social networking site for personal use, and 65% also say they’re using at least one of those sites for professional reasons, according to a recent survey conducted by QuantiaMD and Care Continuum Alliance.

That figure includes doctors who use general social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn for professional purposes, as well as those using specialized networks specific to the medical field.

The biggest benefits of social networking involve doctors being able to interact with their peers and share knowledge. The 4,033 doctors surveyed were most interested in using social networks to:

  1. Learn from experts and peers (92%)
  2. Discuss clinical issues (90%)
  3. Discuss practice management challenges (87%)
  4. Share knowledge and expertise with others (84%)
  5. Get advice regarding specific patients and issues (80%)
  6. Develop a referral network (79%), and
  7. Coordinate care team interactions (75%).

Doctors are more unsure regarding online communication with patients. While acknowledging the benefits of online patient interactions, the majority of doctors have serious worries about liability and patient privacy, as well as concerns about fitting those activities into their busy schedules without being compensated for them.

However, one area where doctors may start to recognize benefits is in online communities where patients interact with each other. While just 11% of respondents said they were aware of those communities, among those, 38% have recommended patients join one and another 41% would consider doing so.

Those communities, which allow patients to share stories, spread knowledge and offer support, can be especially helpful for people with rare and chronic conditions, as well as depression, doctors said.

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