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Study shows health policy researchers lack confidence in social media for communication
Date:6/6/2014

Philadelphia Though Twitter boats 645 million users across the world, only 14 percent of health policy researchers reported using Twitter and approximately 20 percent used blogs and Facebook to communicate their research findings over the past year, according to a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In contrast, sixty-five percent used traditional media channels, such as press releases or media interviews. While participants believed that social media can be an effective way to communicate research findings, many lacked the confidence to use it and felt their academic peers and institutions did not value it or respect it as much as traditional media and direct contact with policy makers. However, the authors note that when used effectively, social media channels could present a major opportunity for connecting with both policy makers and the general public. Full results of the study, one of the first of its kind, are published online today in the journal Health Affairs, and will be presented as a plenary session during this weekend's annual AcademyHealth conference in San Diego, CA.

The study, a survey of 215 health and health-policy researchers (primarily MDs and PhDs), comes as academic journals, public health agencies, and health care organizations increasingly use social media to communicate health-related information. It also comes at a time when the nation is embarking on major changes to the health care system a time when health policy research evidence is increasingly important.

"Our study uncovered four central findings," explained lead author, David Grande, MD, MPA, assistant professor of Medicine at Penn Medicine. "First, most health policy researchers are not using social media to communicate their research results, which could be a significant missed opportunity to expose a larger audience to important health news and findings."

Results of the study also reveal
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Contact: Katie Delach
215-349-5964
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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