To Friend or Not to Friend… Your Physician on Facebook

For better or worse, social media is part of today’s world and plays an important role in the way many of us communicate and share information. Look through a few Facebook statistics and you quickly realize the magnitude of social media communications in our daily lives.

  • Total number of Facebook users: 1.26 billion
  • Average time spent on Facebook per day: 20 billion minutes total
  • Total number of Facebook friend connections: 150 billion
  • Number of Facebook messages sent daily: 10 billion

Based on these stats, it’s easy to assume that sharing photos and life events with family and friends via Facebook is pretty commonplace. Does that same ‘comfort in sharing’ apply to the more personal areas of our lives, like our healthcare?

As a healthcare professional I’m always curious about the answer to that question, so I participated in research that asked 100 random US health consumers their thoughts on friending their personal physician on Facebook.

Health consumers were asked…  Would you ‘friend’ your personal physician on Facebook? Feel free to tell us why or why not in the comment section.

27% ‘liked’ the idea of friending you physician on Facebook, while 73% gave it a thumbs down. Facebook Pie Chart

Interesting results when you think of the volume of personal information already being shared on Facebook. Yes and no responses aside, the real insights can be found in the comments. There were privacy concerns and big brother issues, input on other social media options and feedback from those who think friending their doc could be helpful.

Would you friend your physician on Facebook?
Health Consumer Comments…
 
  • Just don’t want to the chance of any personal info ending up on FB for all to see! Why chance it!
  • I have some health issues that I DO NOT want on Facebook.
  • Not comfortable using social media in my health dialogue, emails are ok but not public things like Facebook.
 
  • Sure, maybe I’ll get a little more attention.
  • I think friending your personal physician on Facebook would be beneficial for the purpose of building stronger relationship. In addition, you could also get information related to your medical situation from a good source especially if the physician likes to engage on social networks.
  • Good way to get more personalized attention.
  • Connecting on Facebook does not mean sharing personal data, it simply means connecting and hopefully improving communication.
 
  • Social communications are the future & I want to be ‘talking’ to my health circle!
  • Is my doctor even on Facebook? I can’t email the office for anything (phone only) so hard to believe he is on Facebook.
 
  • Perhaps but not sure I would want him to see everything I do.
  • Wonder what insurance implications might be?
  • Difficult question, will my insurance company see this? Will my doc use what he sees there against me?
  • I’d be worried my insurance company or employer would see my personal health info.
 
  • No but I would follow him on Twitter.
  • I’d rather friend him on G+. I like the platform and dialogue on G+ much better than FB.


What are your thoughts? Would you friend your physician on Facebook? Drop us a line and let us know how you feel about Facebook and social media use in health care.

This post originally appeared on CROWDTalk.

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