The Influence of Dermatologists' Use of Social Media on Attracting Patients

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD






BACKGROUND: Many dermatologists consider social media to be a useful tool for building their practices and personal brands. However, limited data exists on patients’ perceptions of the value of social media in dermatology. OBJECTIVE: To examine how social media influences patients when choosing a dermatologist and which aspects of dermatologists’ sites offer the most benefit to patients. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was completed by sampling a diverse online population using a 10-question survey. RESULTS: The survey was sent to 1,481 individuals; of the 57.5% who qualified, 98.5% completed the survey (N=715). Of the qualified respondents, 58% were female and 42% were male. Twenty five percent were 18-29 years, 24% were 30-44 years, 33% were 45-60 years, and 19% were over 60 years. Fifty-seven percent reported that social media is only slightly important or not at all important when selecting a dermatologist. According to respondents, patient reviews (68%), years of experience (61%), and medical information written by the dermatologist (59%) were the most important aspects of dermatologists’ social media sites. Cosmetic patients (P<0.0001), younger patients (P<0.0001), and participants with fewer years of education (P=0.0006) valued social media significantly more when selecting a dermatologist compared to their counterpart populations. LIMITATIONS: Selection bias is possible given the survey was distributed only to SurveyMonkey® users. CONCLUSION: Given the majority of patients reported that social media is not important or only slightly important, dermatologists should consider means other than social media to attract new patients to their practices. For dermatologists who use social media, they should highlight patient reviews, experience level, and original medical content. J Drugs Dermatol. 2020;19(5): doi:10.36849/JDD.2020.4849.

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