Social media platforms have completely changed the way people interact with each other and the world around them. A new study published in the May 2013 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery shows that plastic surgeons are not any different.
The study looked for patterns in how plastic surgeons used social media, their motivations behind implementing it into their practice, and what kind of impact the surgeons thought social media had on their practice.
How plastic surgeons use social media
Over a three month period for the study, 500 plastic surgeons responded to the questionnaire sent by the researchers-a 9.7% response rate. The results showed that half of the respondents use social media regularly.
The social media platforms most often used by the study’s respondents were Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, and Blogs.
Of the study’s respondents, 38.5 percent post messages to social media accounts weekly, 26.5 percent monthly, and only 12 percent post messages daily. 54 percent of the plastic surgeons said that they have designated member of their staff who handles the practice’s social media activities.
Reasons for using social media
There were three primary reasons for the inclusion of social media platforms into the plastic surgery practices:
- 56.7 percent stated that the “incorporation of social media into medical practice was inevitable
- 52.1 percent said it was an “effective marketing/advertising tool”
- 49 percent cited that social media “provides a platform for patient education.”
For the respondents who said that social media has had a positive impact on their practice they stated that it directly effected their patient referrals and was a way to get positive feedback from their patients.
A smaller amount of respondents said that it has allowed them to be more efficient communicators and educators with their patients.
The researchers concluded: “There is a definite interest among those surveyed in developing best practice standards and oversight to ensure ethical use of social media platforms throughout the plastic surgery community.”