Physician Social Media Usage

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Physician Social Media Usage

In 2020, about 46% of US physicians reported using social media networks professionally, compared to 34% in 2019, and 54% in 2017. Doximity remains the most preferred social network among US physicians in both 2017 and 2020, followed closely by Facebook at 22% and 16% (2020 and 2017 respectively).
A majority of these findings were gleaned from research studies done by marketing agencies Live World and Healthlink Dimensions. We also included a 2017 white paper by Clinical Options that offered relevant data and insights on physician social media usage.

Number of US Physicians Using Social Media

  • Healthlink Dimensions, a B2B marketing agency focused on healthcare, found that in 2020, about 46% of physicians participated on social media networks for professional reasons. This, the report continues, is up from the 34% of US physicians recorded in 2019.
  • A 2017 study by Clinical Options, a developer of medical education technologies, found that 54% of its respondents (US physicians) used social media professionally.

Preferred Social Media Channels

  • In 2020, Doximity emerged as the most popular social media platform for US physicians. A whole 24% noted to using Doximity more frequently than other platforms. Coincidentally, Clinical Options' 2017 study also noted that a similar percentage of physicians, 24%, used Doximity as well.
  • Facebook came in as the next preferred social media among all interviewed US physicians. In 2017, 16% of physicians used Facebook for professional purposes while 22% noted the same in Healthlink's 2020 study.
  • At 67%, LinkedIn was the most preferred social media platform used by US physicians involved in Clinical Options' 2017 study. According to Healthlink Dimensions, only 15% of US physicians use LinkedIn for professional purposes in 2020.
  • The use of Twitter among US physicians remains steady in both years. Clinical Options' study found that 7% of physicians use Twitter for professional reasons, and Healthlink's study puts that figure at 8%.
  • Live World found that Instagram was most popular among US physicians aged between 20 to 34 years. For those aged between 35 and 54 years, LinkedIn was the most preferred social media platform at 44%. US physicians aged over 55 years noted that Facebook was their most preferred social media platform.

Further Insights

  • Healthlink Dimensions found that 61% of physicians see value in social media and intend to keep participating in the future.
  • Live World concludes the following from its study: Facebook is US physicians' every day news feed for professional information, Instagram is a visual medium that gives them the opportunity to be themselves, and LinkedIn is the platform they use to build their careers, brands, and reputations.

Research Strategy

To find the changes in social media usage by US physicians, we began by looking through the sources shared, which yielded relevant information pertaining to the brief, particularly for the year 2020. We attempted to find similar research studies for the remaining years (2017-2019) that detailed social media usage among US physicians, their numbers on social media platforms, and how that has changed over time, but the only publicly available study we found with relevant information was the white paper by Clinical Options. There were studies pertaining to social media usage among physicians, but were focused on other countries such as Saudi Arabia. We also identified this report by Statista that promises to have useful information but all information is sequestered behind a paywall.

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