Social media is not a determining factor when patients are seeking physicians on the web

In a new study conducted by George Washington University, it was found that patients who seek on the internet for a dermatologist often do so without taking any social networking sites into consideration. The results were released online in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.

Researchers evaluated 715 US-based adult participants who took part in a 10-question survey, most of which were female respondents.

Since social networking sites are considered to be an efficient tool for building an online presence among private practices, researchers set out to determine if such a presence affected a patient’s consideration in becoming a future paying client.

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were the focus of the study. Additionally, the external website of private practice or medical professional was also taken into consideration.

Of all the respondents, only 25 percent agreed that social networking sites play a vital role in growing an online practice. Among the respondents who utilized social media for seeking a dermatologist, most were interested in learning more about the education of patients, over any other motive.

“While patients overall may not rely on social media to select a dermatologist nor be interested in nonmedical content, many of our respondents did express interest in educational content written by their dermatologists on social media,” said Adam Friedman, co-author of the study.

“Practitioners should still count social media as a tool in building their practices and engaging their current patients, however, it should be one of many methods that they rely on to recruit new patients.”

Although the study was only limited to the field of dermatology, the findings might be representative of other medical specializations as well.

Image courtesy of Wired
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