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A goal for many medical providers in 2012 is to develop a social media marketing strategy. While the majority of physicians realize the importance of having some type of online presence, hesitance is experienced by others. Interestingly, 90% of physicians use social media for personal use. Yet, according to QuantiaMD, only 67% use it professionally. Two of the most common reasons cited are concerns for privacy and liability.

“There is a real reticence on the part of many physicians to use social media, or even email for that matter, to communicate with patients,” said Nancy Fabozzi, health care market research and competitive intelligence specialist with Frost & Sullivan. Not only are physicians worried about liability and privacy issues, but also “there’s not enough hours in the day, quite frankly,” she said.

The increased usage of mobile devices, such as smart phones has increased the usage of social media professionally. The most common usage of social media is from physician to physician. While 33% of U.S. physicians received Facebook invitations from patients, 75% declined. Physicians appear to have a low familiarity with online patient communities. As they gain more comfort with such communities, referrals to them will increase. This is important step towards steering patients to the right sites for medical information.

For further information check out the infographic below, which details how physicians are interacting with other physicians and patients as well as how patients are using social media to interact with other patients.

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Rise of the Digital Doctor  | Infographic |
Image Source: MesotheliomaPage.com