Patients don't want to use social media to contact their doctors

June 1, 2011

When it comes to consulting with their doctors, Americans are not averse to email but do not like the idea of using social media such as twitter or Facebook.

When it comes to consulting with their doctors, Americans are not averse to e-mail but do not like the idea of using social media such as Twitter or Facebook, according to a national telephone survey conducted by Capstrat, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based communications agency.

More than 5 of every 6 of the 843 respondents (84%) said that if given the opportunity, they would not use social media for communicating with their doctors. Similarly, 73% said they would not take advantage of chat or instant messaging if offered by their doctor, and 54% would not use a private online forum. Even respondents ages 18 to 29 years (so-called Millennials) were not as enthusiastic about online communications as might be expected, with only 43% expressing an interest in communicating by social media, 49% through chat or instant messaging, and 21% in an online forum.

On the other hand, 52% of respondents said they would be interested in conferring with their doctor via e-mail (57% of women and 47% of men), and 72% would use a nurse helpline (82% of women and 61% of men). Respondents also were comfortable with conducting administrative activities online, with about half expressing interest in online access to medical records and bill payment.

National Survey Results. Public Policy Polling Web site. http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/Capstrat211Results.pdf. Accessed April 3, 2011.

Eudy K. Millennials do not favor social media for personal healthcare communication [press release]. Raleigh, NC: Capstrat; March 21, 2011. http://www.capstrat.com/news/millennials-do-not-favor-social-media-personal-healthcare-communication/. Accessed April 3, 2011.