Health Researchers: Slow to Embrace Social Media

Social MediaAlthough health reform is certainly breaking news, recent research has found that study authors continue to favor traditional media channels over social media channels to publish their findings.[1] In fact, only 14 percent of health policy researchers report using Twitter, and only 20 percent report using blogs and Facebook, to communicate their research findings over the past year.1 On the other hand, 65 percent used traditional media channels, such as press releases or media interviews.1

While health researcher believe that social media is an effective way to communicate their research findings, the study found that many lacked the confidence to use it as they felt their academic peers and institutions did not value or respect social media as much as traditional media.1 However, the researchers note that when used effectively, social media channels could present a major opportunity for connecting with both policy makers and the general public.1

The study, a survey of 215 health and health-policy researchers, came at a time where academic journals, public health agencies, and health care organizations are increasing their use of social media to communicate health-related information.1 Also, the United States is embarking on major changes to the health care system—a time when health policy research is extremely important.1

“Our study uncovered four central findings,” said lead author David Grande, MD, MPA, assistant professor at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “First, most health policy researchers are not using social media to communicate their research results, which could be a significant missed opportunity to expose a larger audience to important health news and findings.”1

Many health researchers worry about how their peers view social media, as many believe it is replete with opinion and junk.1 Also, many do not believe they can communicate anything beyond the 140-character limit on Twitter, despite the common practice of using links to more content.1 Also, the study showed that junior faculty members are more positively predisposed than their senior colleagues about social media.1

“Historically, there has been a significant communication gap between researchers, on the one hand, and policy makers and the public at large, on the other,” said senior author Zachary Meisel, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Penn. “Social media channels are promising tools for closing this gap, provided that they are used appropriately and effectively. As a first step, medical schools and health care institutions should help to educate researchers on how to properly use these channels to circulate their research findings and discuss implications.”1

[1] Nauert, R. (2014). Health Researchers Slow to Embrace Social Media. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 9, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/06/09/health-researchers-slow-to-embrace-social-media/71020.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We are the only facility in Florida owned and operated by an addiction psychiatrist involved in all treatment decisions. Learn more
Hello. Add your message here.