Doctors provide a window to medicine with posts on Snapchat, Instagram

Doc computer

A number of doctors are providing a look into the world of medicine by sharing videos on Snapchat, Instagram and other social media sites, according to a report on U.S. News & World Report.

There’s Sandra Lee, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist from California, who is known as “Dr. Pimple Popper” and shares procedures with an audience of about 1.6 million followers on Instagram, according to the report. And “Dr. Miami,” Michael Salzhauer, MD., a plastic surgeon who posts real-time procedures on Snapchat and just got offered a reality television series on We TV.

Cat Begovic, M.D., a California plastic surgeon, told the publication she was initially hesitant to post on social media, but wanted to inspire young people, particularly girls, to pursue careers in science and medicine. It’s also a means to educate patients and the public about surgery, she said.

While these doctors give viewers a look into the work that doctors do, young people shouldn’t make any career decisions based on what they are seeing, according to the report. Phillip Scharf, who works with students at Arizona State University, told the publication he would not recommend students decide on a medical career based on these social media postings.

A better test for aspiring medical students is to get some hands-on experience by volunteering in a hospital or working with patients.

"They look like they have amazing, fantasy lives," Georgia C. Yalanis, a fourth-year medical student at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told the publication about the doctors on social media. But they don’t show what life in medical school is like or the work or dedication it takes to become a doctor.

There are both benefits and risks when it comes to the use of social media for physicians and medical practices. To stay out of trouble, physicians should educate themselves and follow social media guidelines, being sure to protect patient privacy.

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