There’s a stereotype that doctors are technophobes who shun technology in fear of threatening the privacy of their patients.
But a Pfizer-funded study recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research revealed that nearly one-fourth of U.S. physicians engage in social media to “scan or explore” medical information on a daily basis — with some citing the use of social media many times daily.
That number jumped up to 61% when measured on a weekly basis. While many physicians are still approaching social media with caution — the study found that physicians who “contribute” to social media, rather than merely scan information pushed past 14-percent daily and 46-percent per week.
Writing in the Journal, study authors said: “Based on the results of this study, the use of social media applications may be seen as an efficient and effective method for physicians to keep up-to-date and to share newly acquired medical knowledge with other physicians within the medical community and to improve the quality of patient care.”
The study also revealed that 57.5-percent of physicians perceived social media to be beneficial, engaging, and a good way to get current, high-quality information. It’s important to note that study authors defined social media as “Internet-based applications that allow for the creation and exchange of user-generated content,” which included blogs and services such as social networking, professional online communities, wikis, and microblogging in the mix.
“The amount of information that a practicing clinician must learn, understand, and apply in practice is growing at unprecedented levels and has long surpassed our cognitive capacities.” the study authors concluded.
“Social media and social learning models in general provide an important opportunity to manage this information overload, but only if the media are being used effectively.”