Faster than you can say ‘broadband,' the number of physicians using social media for personal or professional matters has skyrocketed--from about 41 percent in early 2010 to nearly 90 percent this past August.
According to the update from online physician learning collaborative QuantiaMD, 87 percent of physicians make personal use of social media, while 67 percent use it professionally.
The QuantiaMD report also indicates that most physicians using social media are heeding to best practices, with 75 percent of those who've received friend requests from patients saying they declined. While challenges persist in navigating the best ways for physicians to use sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the like, some doctors who've dipped a toe in the water report unexpected advantages.
In a recent blog post for Pediatric Inc, for example, pediatrician Dr. Natasha Burgert describes how she made a deal with herself that she'd spend a year engaging in social media to see if it would "enhance or distract from" her practice.
Burgert's conclusion: She intends to continue blogging and using social media sites until further notice. Here is a sampling of the benefits she says social media has provided so far for her practice, her, her patients, and her career:
- "I average 1 new patient family per week who came because of our social media presence," Burgert wrote. Based on the average pediatric care for 0-24 months, she estimates this translates to $140,000 of average billable income over two years.
- "I have seen a glimpse of how big an effect a group of vocal health writers can have; how active advocates can act to correct falsehoods and incorrect reporting."
- "I can actively communicate, acknowledge, and positively influence the choices that my families make for their children between the checkups."
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