Family doctors’ and dentists’ access and dissemination of medical information through social media
Background: Across the globe it has been observed a high reluctance among doctors to engage with social media. The hereby research aims to analyze how physicians circulate medical information using social media. Material and method: The targeted sample population was represented by family physicians and dentists who during 2017 had a contract with the Romanian National Health Insurance House. From the website of the Romanian National Health Insurance House were collected the available e-mail addresses (8,497) and phone numbers (5,422). The call to complete in the research contained a link to the online questionnaire. The request to partake was sent via SMS, WhatsApp and / or e-mail from 24 May to 14 July 2017. For comparison purposes the responders were split in 3 age groups. Millennials were defined as below 38 years old. Generation X represented people between 38 and 51 years old. Baby Boomers were the group aged above 51 years old.
Results: The described methodology generated 120 valid questionnaires. The majority of them came from women (61%) living in urban areas (71%) working in private practices using Facebook (85%).
Generation X connect more to SM from public places as compared to Baby Boomers (p=0.007).
Doctors seek medical information on SM monthly (83%) but rarely give advice through SM to colleagues (28%) or contribute to patients’ medical education (32%).
Most physicians interact with their patients through SM (59%), but do not discuss with them about how to search for health information.
Conclusion: This research highlighted a low SM usage among Romanian physicians. As anticipated, doctor’s awareness of the SM’s versatile environment was strongly influenced by their age. While doctors acknowledged SM as a resource for medical information they did not engage in cultivating patient’s medical education through these platforms.