Traditional media reigns over social media for sharing health policy research

Health policy researchers still turn to traditional media over social media when sharing their findings, despite sites such as Twitter and Facebook boasting hundreds of millions of users.

The researchers, from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, believe social media to be an effective communications tool, but feel press releases, media interviews and other traditional forms of communication are more respected in the industry. Many also lack the confidence to use social media, according to their study, published in Health Affairs.

Sixty-five percent of the researchers said they use traditional forms of media to report their findings. Only 14 percent said they use Twitter and 20 percent said they use Facebook and blogs.

"Historically, there has been a significant communication gap between researchers, on the one hand, and policy makers and the public at large, on the other," senior study author Zachary Meisel, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Penn, said in a statement. "Social media channels are promising tools for closing this gap, provided they are used appropriately and effectively." Article