Social media has revolutionized the way in which people and businesses interact, and it is taking on a growing role in the health care industry. A new UCLA study looking at the use of social media among plastic surgeons found that roughly half of these specialists use social media tools.
Plastic surgeons have been leaders among medical specialists in the development of interactive websites to promote their practices and educate patients, said the study's principal investigator and senior author, Dr. Reza Jarrahy, an associate clinical professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. But until now, there there had been surprisingly little information on whether and how they are using social media.
In the study, published in the May issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), approximately 50 percent of plastic surgeons polled said they use Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to help market their professional practice.
"Social media platforms represent a dynamic and powerful tool to educate, engage, market to and directly communicate with patients and professional colleagues," said Jarrahy, who is a member of ASPS and vice president of communications for the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons. "However, for plastic surgeons, the potential benefits associated with using this tool must be balanced against its potential pitfalls."
The researchers sent an anonymous survey to more than 5,000 ASPS member surgeons. Responses from 500 of them provided information on their use of social media in their plastic surgery practice, their reasons for using it and the perceived benefits and risks.
Just more than half said they regularly use social media for their professional practice. Facebook was by far the most popular platform, followed by LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
|Contact: Amy Albin|
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences