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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

Published in: Health & Medicine, Business
  • 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

  1. 1. Canadian physicians and social media: Activity and attitudes Pat Rich – Director, CMA Online Content
  2. 2. Doctors and social media <ul><li>Social media use is ubiquitous in Canadian society. </li></ul><ul><li>Numerous articles/blogs exhort physicians to embrace social media to improve patient care… </li></ul><ul><li>But numerous barriers to SM use by physicians in Canada: </li></ul><ul><li>* regulatory </li></ul><ul><li>* time constraints </li></ul><ul><li>* remuneration lacking </li></ul>
  3. 3. Doctors and social media: Example of regulatory activity <ul><li>FACEBOOK  </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick </li></ul>
  4. 4. Doctors and social media <ul><li>Data lacking on Canadian physician uptake of social media and attitudes about SM </li></ul><ul><li>Canadian Medical Association is a national, non-profit association representing 74,550 Canadian physicians (80% of practising community) </li></ul>
  5. 5. CMA e-Panel <ul><li>“ 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.” </li></ul><ul><li>started in 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>currently 3,258 participants (practising physicians, medical students, residents, retired physicians) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Doctors and social media <ul><li>What forms of social media do you use on a regular basis for personal or professional purposes? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you: </li></ul><ul><li>* joined a Facebook group with a medical theme? </li></ul><ul><li>* joined a social networking site specifically for physicians? </li></ul><ul><li>* posted a video to YouTube on a medical topic? </li></ul><ul><li>* participated in an online discussion forum on a medical topic? </li></ul><ul><li>* had a patient ask to “friend” you on Facebook? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Doctors and social media <ul><li>3) Do you think the use of social media in medicine: </li></ul><ul><li>* helps patients gain a sense of community? </li></ul><ul><li>* poses professional or legal risks? </li></ul><ul><li>* increases public knowledge of medical issues? </li></ul><ul><li>* permits patients and physicians to share information in a collaborative way? </li></ul><ul><li>* provides platforms for better peer-to-peer sharing? </li></ul><ul><li>* can help physicians provide better care more efficiently? </li></ul><ul><li>* is of little value in day-to-day medical practice? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Response rate <ul><li>647 responses from 3,258 e-panellists (20%) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>30% family physician or general practitioner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>43% other specialist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>7% medical resident (trainee) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>7% student </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>13% retired </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Response rate <ul><li>Demographics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>67% male </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>47% age 55 or older </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>17% under age 35 </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Main survey findings I <ul><li>51% have a Facebook account </li></ul><ul><li>17% have a LinkedIn account </li></ul><ul><li>12% have a Twitter account </li></ul><ul><li>9% have an account on another social networking site </li></ul><ul><li>7% have a blog </li></ul>
  11. 11. Main survey findings II <ul><li>Few use their social media sites for professional purposes </li></ul><ul><li>* Facebook – 1% professional only; 8% both professional and personal </li></ul><ul><li>* Twitter – 11% professional; 21% both </li></ul><ul><li>* Other social networking – 22% professional; 10% both </li></ul><ul><li>* Blog – 19% professional; 22% both </li></ul>
  12. 12. Main survey findings III <ul><li>43% ― participated in a medical discussion forum </li></ul><ul><li>26% ― joined an MD social networking site </li></ul><ul><li>15% ― had a Facebook “friend” request from a patient </li></ul><ul><li>14% ― joined a Facebook group with a medical theme </li></ul><ul><li>2% ― have posted a medical video to YouTube </li></ul>
  13. 13. Main Survey Findings IV <ul><li>80% ― believe social media pose professional and legal risks </li></ul><ul><li>51% ― think SM increase public knowledge about medicine </li></ul><ul><li>49% ― think SM help patients gain a sense of community </li></ul><ul><li>44% ― believe SM is of little value in day-to-day practice </li></ul>
  14. 14. Main Survey Findings V <ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>However, 84.1% of medical students believe social media pose professional and legal risks to physicians versus 77.5% of practicing physicians </li></ul>
  15. 15. MDs and social media - comments <ul><li>180 comments received (very high percentage) </li></ul><ul><li>Majority expressed concerns about use of social media in their practice: </li></ul><ul><li>* privacy and security considerations </li></ul><ul><li>* lack of knowledge about SM </li></ul><ul><li>* time constraints </li></ul>
  16. 16. MDs and social media - comments <ul><li>“ (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.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ 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.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Given the weight of privacy issues, using social media in a physician-patient relationship is a dangerous trap, best to be avoided.” </li></ul>
  17. 17. MDs and social media - comments <ul><li>“ Used wisely, social networking sites could be a great boon to prevention, treatment and rehabilitation as well as provision of support and guidance.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ If physicians don’t get into social media we will be so far behind we will never catch up.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Social media is very important for us and should be harnessed. I greatly welcome this for patient-patient and physician-physician interaction.” </li></ul>
  18. 18. Survey strengths/weaknesses <ul><li>Strengths </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drawn from representative sample Canadian physician population </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>asked questions for which little data exists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>relatively good response rate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Weaknesses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Did not use random sampling method </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>voluntary; self-selected responders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>generalized questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>relatively poor response rate </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. CMA and social media I <ul><li>Many responses to e-Panel requested more information or guidance about social media </li></ul><ul><li>Only Canadian guidelines/statements issued by two provincial licensing authorities and malpractice insurer (CMPA) </li></ul><ul><li>* statements essentially telling doctors “don’t go there” </li></ul><ul><li>Guidelines/guidance for members issued by AMA, BMA and Australian/New Zealand medical associations </li></ul>
  20. 20. CMA and social media II <ul><li>CMA finalizing guidelines/rules of engagement for Canadian doctors: </li></ul><ul><li>* based on best practices and widespread consultation with other physician groups </li></ul><ul><li>* attempt to balance potential risks/benefits of social media in health care </li></ul><ul><li>* outline certain key principles to keep in mind for physicians if they use social media </li></ul><ul><li>* goes to CMA Board of Directors for approval </li></ul>
  21. 21. Concluding statements <ul><li>“ 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.” </li></ul><ul><li>Andreas Laupacis </li></ul><ul><li>Notes for the Justice Emmett Hall Lecture </li></ul><ul><li>Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada </li></ul><ul><li>May 11, 2011 </li></ul>
  22. 22. Concluding statements II <ul><li>“ I think its well within the realm of possibility that the generation of medical students today will use social media to communicate with patients.” </li></ul><ul><li>Robin Clouston </li></ul><ul><li>VP Communications </li></ul><ul><li>Canadian Federation of Medical Students </li></ul>
  23. 23. Acknowledgments <ul><li>Carole Deburggraeve and Angela Moffatt for e-Panel management </li></ul><ul><li>Marla Fletcher, Shannon O’Brien and Jean Nelson for review and editing of content </li></ul>