How to Use Social Media for Professional Development in Medicine

Written by: Dr. Nisha Cooch
Published on: Feb 6, 2020

Doctor's Laptop

More than six out of every ten physicians in the U.S. are using social media or interested in doing so, according to Medical Economics. Though those in the healthcare industry mainly started using social media platforms to support their marketing efforts, their use of these platforms now encompasses several important aspects of professional development. Here are three things every healthcare provider can do on social media to promote their careers:


1. Share information with colleagues.

Social media enables us to distribute information rapidly. Healthcare providers have been slower to use social media to spread important news and research, but providers across different medical specialties have started to do so more regularly. By sharing new data or event information, healthcare providers can better connect with their colleagues and ensure that other providers are up to date on the latest relevant information.

If, as a provider, you conduct research, then social media also provides a way to circulate your papers and get more eyes on your publications. More people viewing your publications increases the chances that those publications are cited or incorporated in meaningful ways into others’ research or practice.

2. Educate patients.

There is so much inaccurate medical information on the web, and given the technical nature of medicine, it can be difficult for lay audiences to distinguish fact from fiction. Patients are using social media more than ever, so social media offers an opportunity to reach this audience and educate them on important health issues.

By posting accurate information, healthcare providers can help combat inaccurate or incomplete information that patients are exposed to elsewhere. Healthcare providers’ posts on social media may reach patients directly or may be shared by other important healthcare influencers and thereby reach patient audiences.

Doctors on phones

3. Build your reputation.

By sharing important medical information, healthcare providers can build credibility in their space while also demonstrating their commitment to their patients. Each of these effects are important for building a strong reputation in healthcare.

Lack of high-quality communication is a major concern that patients raise about their providers, and healthcare providers who do not communicate well often suffer from low retention rates and negative reviews. Social media offers a way to address patients’ increasing desire for communication from their healthcare providers. This approach is especially effective when paired with a blog or other dynamic written content that shows that the provider is keeping up with the latest in their field.


Takeaway: Healthcare providers who are not using social media are missing out on important opportunities related to professional development. Social media forges connections and allows for rapid information distribution, making it a valuable tool for communicating with colleagues and patients.