Social Media’s Impact on Physicians and Specialties

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Almost every industry is feeling the impact of social media in areas of business, technology, education, and the medical practice. As social media continues to grow at unparalleled rates, changes are being made to accommodate the abundance of information and sometimes lack thereof.

The use of social media is transforming the way physicians, medical students, and medical programs are being perceived by everyday consumers. A recent trend called FOAM, or Free Open Access Meducation, allows individuals to explore databases of medical resources thus increasing education and awareness. FOAM can consist of multiple social media platforms including podcasts, tweets, posts, blogs, videos, and much more.

If implemented correctly, social media platforms can lead to creative ways to educate and disseminate information to the general public, especially within specific fields of medicine. Recently, two doctors, Dr. Kenar Jhaveri and Dr. Hitesh Shah, physicians at the North Shore—LIJ Health System, decided they wanted to use social media as a means of cultivating interest and the revival of nephrology. In recent years, interest in nephrology has declined in medical programs at universities and in students.


Drs. Jhaveri and Shah created an outline that was presented on November 9, 2013, which is the “largest educational social media campaign to date performed in organized medicine.” This campaign was called “NephMadness.”  The main platforms of the campaign consisted of blog posts and Twitter. Jhaveri and Shah showcased in their findings to other physicians that “utilizing such interactive online social media campaigns certainly has the potential to raise awareness, and may lead to increases in revival of interest in additional medical subspecialties.”

As a locum tenens physician, it is always important to stay up-to-date with current trends in the medical field and in your specialty. What impact does social media have on your information gathering?

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