Social Media and Online Communication: Clinical Urology Practice in the 21st Century


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Abstract

Introduction:Social media use by urologists is common with more than 66% reporting an active account. Most of this is for personal use or at urological conferences, although it can be a powerful tool for patient education and engagement. Patients and care givers are increasingly using online materials to search for health information, although how social media is used is still unclear. For the practicing urologist this review provides an introduction to the use, platforms and risks of social media and other online communication.Methods:Available social media platforms and their use are reviewed. The unique challenges associated with digital communication are outlined along with suggested ways to post information responsibly.Results:Users should have clear goals when engaging patients online. These may include disease education, practice updates or patient information. Social media accounts should regularly be screened for misuse or harmful comments. Patient confidentiality and professionalism should always be maintained. The widespread sharing and posting of digital content pose unique challenges and advantages for health care professionals. Maintaining the urologist reputation and that of the practice requires all content to be assumed public, even if posted on personal accounts.Conclusions:Overall the popularity of social media and online communication is increasing. The role in the physician-patient relationship is still evolving. Patient education, disease awareness and expanding the reach of a urologist practice are all possible online and with social media.

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