US Insights

These are the doctors tapping into social media

Meghan Bazaman

Research Analyst

Health 01.12.2018 / 12:00


Engagement with social media depends on medical specialty

Advances in technology have changed healthcare practices and how doctors interact online. The widespread adoption of social networks is making a bigger impact on a physician’s day-to-day life, especially when consumers go online to look for health information and health providers.

Kantar Media's Healthcare Research Client Services division has gotten a clearer picture of how doctors are engaging with social media to interact with their peers and their patients. We also discovered which doctors are utilizing social media the most.

Importance of Social Media

Patients desire ways to connect with each other and healthcare professionals via social media. Therefore, it's crucial that doctors evolve their practices to meet this demand:

  • Nearly 3 out of 4 US adults indicate they typically go online for health and wellness purposes.
  • 32% conduct research online prior to a doctor’s appointment. 36% research treatment options on their own and then ask their doctor about them.
  • 53% value social content/sharing websites as a source for health information (e.g., social networking sites, references websites with user-generated content, drug review/ratings websites, online blogs or online communities/support groups)
  • 69% of all adults indicate they have caught up or posted on a social network from a computer or mobile device within the last month
SourceKantar Media’s 2017 MARS Consumer Health Study

How Doctors Interact with Patients and Peers

According to Kantar Media’s 2017 Medical Surgical Sources and Interactions study, healthcare professionals are finding effective ways to utilize social media. For example, nearly half of all physicians surveyed (47%) say they have posted, followed or communicated with colleagues on professional social networks in the past 30 days via a computer or mobile device.

When communicating with healthcare consumers, nearly half of all doctors surveyed indicate they use a patient portal to interact with patients. Additionally, 7% say they use social media to communicate with specific patients or to promote their practice with a broad group of patients (an increase of one percentage point since last year). 

Which Doctors Value Social Media

18% of all doctors say they value Social Communities/Networks as a source of professional informationOf these:

  • 43% are age <45 (132 index compared to total doctors surveyed)
  • 39% are female (135 index compared to total doctors surveyed)
  • 46% see over 100 patients in an average week

Source: Kantar Media

Editor's Notes

The 2017 Medical/Surgical study includes 24 physician specialties across 45 different sources of information including traditional and emerging media, pharma reps, CME, conventions, and more. To learn more, please contact Kantar Media Healthcare Research Client Services at or 646-895-8528.

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