Canadian physicians and social media: a survey
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Canadian physicians and social media: a survey

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Canadian Medical Association review of social media use and attitudes among ePanel of CMA members

Canadian Medical Association review of social media use and attitudes among ePanel of CMA members

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  • Managing professional and private identities and choosing appropriate new media tools with multiple privacy options may be a tricky minefield field to negotiate, but hopefully there is a way through to benefit both patients and professionals.
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Canadian physicians and social media: a survey Canadian physicians and social media: a survey Presentation Transcript

  • Canadian physicians and social media: Activity and attitudes Pat Rich – Director, CMA Online Content
  • Doctors and social media
    • Social media use is ubiquitous in Canadian society.
    • Numerous articles/blogs exhort physicians to embrace social media to improve patient care…
    • But numerous barriers to SM use by physicians in Canada:
    • * regulatory
    • * time constraints
    • * remuneration lacking
  • Doctors and social media: Example of regulatory activity
    • FACEBOOK 
    • The Council has recently become aware that some physicians have posted information on Facebook … such that specific patients have been inadvertently identified.  Council wishes to remind physicians of the potential risk of a complaint, and disciplinary action, for posting or disclosure of any information which has any possibility of identifying a patient.   Council does not believe there is ever a need, or a point, to posting any information regarding a physician’s professional or clinical activity in such a fashion, considering the many risks and no discernable benefits.
    • College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick
  • Doctors and social media
    • Data lacking on Canadian physician uptake of social media and attitudes about SM
    • Canadian Medical Association is a national, non-profit association representing 74,550 Canadian physicians (80% of practising community)
  • CMA e-Panel
    • “ Help us represent the views of Canada's physicians by joining a panel of doctors who have agreed to be contacted by email four to six times per year for their input on matters of importance to the profession.”
    • started in 2007
    • currently 3,258 participants (practising physicians, medical students, residents, retired physicians)
  • Doctors and social media
    • What forms of social media do you use on a regular basis for personal or professional purposes?
    • Have you:
    • * joined a Facebook group with a medical theme?
    • * joined a social networking site specifically for physicians?
    • * posted a video to YouTube on a medical topic?
    • * participated in an online discussion forum on a medical topic?
    • * had a patient ask to “friend” you on Facebook?
  • Doctors and social media
    • 3) Do you think the use of social media in medicine:
    • * helps patients gain a sense of community?
    • * poses professional or legal risks?
    • * increases public knowledge of medical issues?
    • * permits patients and physicians to share information in a collaborative way?
    • * provides platforms for better peer-to-peer sharing?
    • * can help physicians provide better care more efficiently?
    • * is of little value in day-to-day medical practice?
  • Response rate
    • 647 responses from 3,258 e-panellists (20%)
      • 30% family physician or general practitioner
      • 43% other specialist
      • 7% medical resident (trainee)
      • 7% student
      • 13% retired
  • Response rate
    • Demographics
      • 67% male
      • 47% age 55 or older
      • 17% under age 35
  • Main survey findings I
    • 51% have a Facebook account
    • 17% have a LinkedIn account
    • 12% have a Twitter account
    • 9% have an account on another social networking site
    • 7% have a blog
  • Main survey findings II
    • Few use their social media sites for professional purposes
    • * Facebook – 1% professional only; 8% both professional and personal
    • * Twitter – 11% professional; 21% both
    • * Other social networking – 22% professional; 10% both
    • * Blog – 19% professional; 22% both
  • Main survey findings III
    • 43% ― participated in a medical discussion forum
    • 26% ― joined an MD social networking site
    • 15% ― had a Facebook “friend” request from a patient
    • 14% ― joined a Facebook group with a medical theme
    • 2% ― have posted a medical video to YouTube
  • Main Survey Findings IV
    • 80% ― believe social media pose professional and legal risks
    • 51% ― think SM increase public knowledge about medicine
    • 49% ― think SM help patients gain a sense of community
    • 44% ― believe SM is of little value in day-to-day practice
  • Main Survey Findings V
    • Only 18.2% of medical students agree that social media are of little value in day-to-day medical practice, versus 47.5% of practicing physicians
    • However, 84.1% of medical students believe social media pose professional and legal risks to physicians versus 77.5% of practicing physicians
  • MDs and social media - comments
    • 180 comments received (very high percentage)
    • Majority expressed concerns about use of social media in their practice:
    • * privacy and security considerations
    • * lack of knowledge about SM
    • * time constraints
  • MDs and social media - comments
    • “ (I have) a great deal of concern using this form of communication with patients. Boundary issues (exist), as well as level of responsibility and accountability for responding to any questions.”
    • “ I personally feel threatened by all the electronic media. I don’t like to be ‘on display’ and (prefer) to use the little spare time I have for family activities.”
    • “ Given the weight of privacy issues, using social media in a physician-patient relationship is a dangerous trap, best to be avoided.”
  • MDs and social media - comments
    • “ Used wisely, social networking sites could be a great boon to prevention, treatment and rehabilitation as well as provision of support and guidance.”
    • “ If physicians don’t get into social media we will be so far behind we will never catch up.”
    • “ Social media is very important for us and should be harnessed. I greatly welcome this for patient-patient and physician-physician interaction.”
  • Survey strengths/weaknesses
    • Strengths
      • Drawn from representative sample Canadian physician population
      • asked questions for which little data exists
      • relatively good response rate
    • Weaknesses
      • Did not use random sampling method
      • voluntary; self-selected responders
      • generalized questions
      • relatively poor response rate
  • CMA and social media I
    • Many responses to e-Panel requested more information or guidance about social media
    • Only Canadian guidelines/statements issued by two provincial licensing authorities and malpractice insurer (CMPA)
    • * statements essentially telling doctors “don’t go there”
    • Guidelines/guidance for members issued by AMA, BMA and Australian/New Zealand medical associations
  • CMA and social media II
    • CMA finalizing guidelines/rules of engagement for Canadian doctors:
    • * based on best practices and widespread consultation with other physician groups
    • * attempt to balance potential risks/benefits of social media in health care
    • * outline certain key principles to keep in mind for physicians if they use social media
    • * goes to CMA Board of Directors for approval
  • Concluding statements
    • “ It is an important challenge for us as researchers and health system leaders to work with the public to find ways to use the social media to achieve the ideal state … where important decisions are based upon a combination of evidence of needs and impacts; costs and affordability; and fairness and justice.”
    • Andreas Laupacis
    • Notes for the Justice Emmett Hall Lecture
    • Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    • May 11, 2011
  • Concluding statements II
    • “ I think its well within the realm of possibility that the generation of medical students today will use social media to communicate with patients.”
    • Robin Clouston
    • VP Communications
    • Canadian Federation of Medical Students
  • Acknowledgments
    • Carole Deburggraeve and Angela Moffatt for e-Panel management
    • Marla Fletcher, Shannon O’Brien and Jean Nelson for review and editing of content