October 16, 2014

Prevalence of internet and social media usage in orthopedic surgery.

Prevalence of internet and social media usage in orthopedic surgery.
Background: Social networking and Internet usage has become an increasingly important means of patient communication and referral.
Methods: New patients were surveyed (n=752) between December 2012 to January 2013 in a major academic orthopaedic center to complete a 15-item questionnaire including social media and Internet usage information. Data was collected for all orthopaedic sub-specialties and statistical analysis was performed.
Results: 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 compared to the joints/tumor service (P<0.0001). Younger age was the biggest indicator predicting the use of social media. Patients that traveled between 120 to 180 miles from the hospital for their visits were significantly more likely to be social media users, as were patients that did research on their condition prior to their new patient appointment.
Conclusions: 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, surgeons with younger patient populations will need to utilize social networking and the Internet to capture new patient referrals.

Orthop Rev (Pavia). 2014 Aug 8;6(3):5483