Currently submitted to: JMIR Dermatology
Date Submitted: Oct 7, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Oct 7, 2020 - Dec 2, 2020
(currently open for review)
Risks and Benefits of Using Social Media in Dermatology: Cross-Sectional Questionnaire Study
Dermatological information on social media (SM) is often presented by non-dermatologists. Increasing online engagement by trained dermatologists may improve information quality, patient education and care.
To assess dermatologists’ perceptions of SM and patterns of use to identify barriers limiting engagement.
In our cohort study, a 36-item online survey was distributed to dermatologists in the United States; responses were captured on a 1-100 sliding scale.
128 valid responses were submitted. Dermatologists showed greater concern for SM risk-related issues than potential benefits (mean score 77.9±15.1 vs. 61.8±16.4, p<.0001). Leading concerns were poor patient care, non-evidence-based information, and breaching patient privacy. Benefits included inter-physician collaboration, patient education, and public health awareness. The most avid SM users were Millennials, and along with Baby Boomers, were more optimistic than Generation X dermatologists about SM use benefits. Predictors showing intent to increase future SM use were younger age, integration into professional use, and optimistic view (r2=.39, p<.0001).
Dermatologists perceive SM's risks to be considerable, but still intend to increase its use, likely recognizing the value and importance of SM to the field.
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