Worth the “Likes”? The Use of Facebook Amongst Plastic Surgeons and Its Perceived Impact

A review over view of two articles on Plastic Surgery and Social Media

by Samuel Lin

Worth the “Likes”? The Use of Facebook among Plastic Surgeons and Its Perceived Impact Chang, Jessica B.; Woo, Shoshana L.; Cederna, Paul S. Less
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.
135(5):909e-918e, May 2015.

Synopsis:

The authors of this paper examined Facebook utilization among plastic surgeons and its perceived impact. They surveyed two groups of plastic surgeons on Facebook use: 500 with professional Facebook pages, and 500 without Facebook pages. A total of 123 surveys were completed (12.3% response rate). No respondents with Facebook reported a negative impact on their practice, while 57% reported “very positive” or “positive.” There was no correlation with perceived impact and number of “likes.” Perceived advantages of Facebook included facilitation of patient feedback/communication (77%) and increased practice exposure (67%). 15 to 26% of the surgeons did not follow the direct impact of Facebook on their practices. Estimated conversion-to- surgery rates were highly variable for Facebook users and nonusers. Sixty-seven percent of Facebook expected a “neutral” impact, expressing more concerns about unsolicited advertising (51%) and wasting time (47%). The authors conclude that plastic surgeons tend to perceive Facebook’s impact on their practices as positive, but most do not track its direct effects on professional website hits, new referrals, or conversion-to-surgery rates. The authors state that plastic surgeons using Facebook should be encouraged to monitor these parameters to determine whether its continued use is actually worthwhile.

Social media is ubiquitous and likely here to expand.  We are affected from it one way or another and pick your medium of choice: Facebook, Twitter, Reddett, Instagram, Snapchat to name a few.  It has vastly expanded the information highway and news can be shared nearly instantaneously.  How medical professionals choose to utilize or not to utilize this wide open means of communication is important to consider: we know that though no medical advice should be directly given to a potential patient, what a medical professional chooses to post or comment on is, indeed, a small window into their preferences or opinions: let’s keep the chatter optimistic and hopeful rather than disparaging.  We take care of patients by training and let’s spend our time keeping focused on better evidence based medicine and using social media as a venue to propagate the data!

Additional references:

A cross-sectional study of the presence of United Kingdom (UK) plastic surgeons on social media.
Mabvuure NT1Rodrigues J2Klimach S3Nduka C4 J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2014 Mar;67(3):362-7.

The authors of this paper aimed to determine the uptake and usage of websites and social media (SM) by UK consultant (attending) plastic surgeons. The professional profiles of full BAPRAS members were searched on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, RealSelf, Youtube, ResearchGate in May 2013. Additional surgeons were identified from the follower lists of @BAPRASvoice and @BAAPSMedia. There were 156 (48,3%) dual BAAPS-BAPRAS members and 36 BAPRAS-only members. Fifty seven (18%) surgeons had no account on any platform whereas 266 (82%) were on at least one platform. One hundred and sixty four (51%) had personal websites whilst 37 (11%) had profiles on partnership websites. One hundred and sixteen (36%) had no website presence whilst 2% had websites under construction. The platform most surgeons use is LinkedIn (52%) whilst smaller proportions used Facebook (4%) and Twitter (22%). Surgeons had a mean of 126 (range: 0-3270) Twitter followers and 368 (range: 7-3786) fans/’likes’ of their Facebook profiles. Time spent in postgraduate practice was not predictive of website ownership or SM use. However, dual BAAPS-BAPRAS members were significantly more likely to own a personal website, Twitter, RealSelf and YouTube accounts. The authors conclude that there has been an increase in the uptake of social media by UK plastic surgeons, especially in those with aesthetic surgery interests. The authors also state that very few surgeons have optimized their web presence and that continued education and appropriate usage guidance may promote uptake, particularly by reconstructive surgeons.

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