While we've seen no polls to confirm our assumption, it seems safe to say few, if any doctors, are looking to add to their already long list of professional responsibilities. And that is probably why many still avoid diving into the universe of social media.
But an increasing number of physicians are wading onto Twitter, Facebook and other outlets, and they're making their reasons known to encourage their colleagues to do the same. For example, Deann Attai, MD, (@DrAttai), a breast cancer expert surgeon at UCLA Health and president of The American Society of Breast Surgeons, says, "I no longer have to sift through piles of journals to pull out articles of interest - social media delivers the relevant content to me."
Moreover, she argues, "Patients are thirsty for good credible information, as well as guidance and support. Many patients seem to appreciate having a physician in the online space. Interacting with patients online also gives me the opportunity to correct myths and misconceptions in real time."
Similarly, Miguel Perales, MD, (@DrMiguelPerales), oncologist specialist in hematology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering of New York, says Twitter has become another one of his professional day-to-day tasks. "For Twitter, there are several advantages including: open access, brevity of the messages, ability to add links and images, the ability to use hashtags, and the fact that many MDs now use the platform."
And Sofia Fournier, MD, specialist in fetal medicine at the Barcelona, Spain-based Dexeus Clinic and author of the blog "Una mami que se mima" ("A mum that spoils herself"), says "my digital identity makes patients feel more comfortable with me, it makes me more human and friendly."