Prevalence of Internet and Social Media Usage in Orthopedic Surgery
Curry EJ, Li X, Nguyen J, Matzkin E. Prevalence of Internet and social media usage in orthopaedic surgery. Orthopedic Reviews (Pavia). 2014 Oct;6(3): 107-11.
Prior studies in other specialties have shown that social networking and Internet usage has become an increasingly important means of patient communication and referral. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the prevalence of Internet or social media usage in new patients referred to a major academic orthopedics center and to identify new avenues to optimize patient recruitment and communication. New patients were surveyed (n=752) between December 2012 to January 2013 in a major academic orthopedic center to complete a 15-item questionnaire including social media and Internet usage information. Data was collected for all orthopedic sub-spe-cialties and statistical analysis was performed. Fifty percent of patients use social networking sites, such as Facebook. Sports medicine patients tend to be higher social networking users (35.9%) relative to other services (9.8-17.9%) and was statistically higher when com-pared to the joints/tumor service (P<0.0001). Younger age was the biggest indicator predict-ing the use of social media. Patients that trav-elled between 120 to 180 miles from the hospi-tal for their visits were significantly more like-ly to be social media users, as were patients that did research on their condition prior to their new patient appointment. We conclude that orthopedic patients who use social media/Internet are more likely to be younger, researched their condition prior to their appointment and undergo a longer average day's travel (120-180 miles) to see a physician. In an increasingly competitive market, sur-geons with younger patient populations will need to utilize social networking and the Internet to capture new patient referrals.