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Study: Social Media Used by Physicians for Medical Information

September 27, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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According to a study recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, physicians are increasingly using social media applications 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.  Of the physician respondents, 61 percent used social media on a weekly basis or more to to scan or explore medical information.

The study’s authors, led by Brian S. McGowan, Ph.D, an education technology consultant and author, interviewed 485 physicians to determine how they are using using social media to share and exchange medical information with colleagues. It was also looking to identify the factors that influence physicians’ use of social media as a component of their lifelong learning and continuing professional development.

Of the respondents, 24.1 percent used social media for medical information purposes daily or more. Forty-six percent contributed on a weekly basis. Nearly 58 percent of respondents stated that social media enabled them to care for patients more effectively, and 60 percent stated it improved the quality of patient care they delivered.

“The main factors influencing a physician’s usage of social media to share medical knowledge with other physicians were perceived ease of use and usefulness. Respondents who had positive attitudes toward the use of social media were more likely to use social media and to share medical information with other physicians through social media,” it says in the report’s abstract.

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