Americans are growing increasingly comfortable with using social media. Most Americans age 12 and over use Facebook. Many log into social networks to stay in touch with family and friends while traveling. The list of ways social media has become part of our every day lives goes on and on.
But, there is one exception to this widespread acceptance and extensive participation. New survey results show that most Americans would still prefer more traditional lines of communication when they need a consultation from their doctor.
The new study from Capstrat and Public Policy Polling found that more than five of every six respondents (84 percent) said they would not use social media or instant messaging channels for medical communication if their doctors offered it.
Even among Millennials (those age 18 to 29), less than one-quarter (21 percent) said they would participate in that kind of online forum.
Despite the distinct lack of enthusiasm for online consultations with physicians, the survey did reveal areas where digital platforms can enhance patient-provider interactions. For instance:
- Respondents were more favorable toward email and online channels when used for appointment setting, medical record access, and nurse consultation.
- In fact, a nurse help line was the preferred form of communication across all demographic and age cohorts. Nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of respondents said they would take advantage of a nurse help line if it was offered by their doctor.
The complete survey results are available at www.publicpolicypolling.com.
Interestingly, this data mirrors other recent results from a Healthcare IT News poll. In this survey, nearly half of the respondents said doctors should use social media to foster a healthcare community. But even among this segment, only 16 percent said doctors should use online platforms to connect with patients. 13 percent of the survey respondents think that their doctors should not be using social at all.