Social Media

Physician Views on Online Patient Communities

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ImageTwo-thirds of physicians who are familiar with patient communities say they have a positive impact on patients. Almost 40 percent of these physicians say they already recommend patient communities to their patients, and another 40 percent would consider recommending them.

ImageTwo-thirds of physicians who are familiar with patient communities say they have a positive impact on patients. Almost 40 percent of these physicians say they already recommend patient communities to their patients, and another 40 percent would consider recommending them. These positive physician views suggest that online patient communities may grow in acceptance by the medical community as more physicians become acquainted with them.

Most physicians who know about online patient communities say they are especially beneficial to patients with chronic illness, cancer and rare diseases. A majority of these physicians also see positive patient impacts for maternal and infant care, depression, wellness and prevention, and weight management.

Physician Concerns on Patient Communities
The top physician concern with patient communities is the potential for misinformation to be shared. Also, some physicians view these sites as forums for complaining about the medical community rather than fostering dialog about how best to use it.

Online Physician-Patient Interactions Will Come, but More Slowly
Physicians show the strongest support for sharing educational materials with their patients. When asked about the benefits of online interactions with patients, physicians most often cited improved access to care, supported by more communication. Online interactions with patients are an opportunity for “better education, increased compliance, and better outcomes.”

Physician Concerns About Online Physician-Patient Interactions

  • Patient privacy
  • Physician liability issues
  • Clinically, this is not a substitute for actually examining the patient
  • Compensation for online activities
  • Lack of time

Top Patient Communities

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