A new wave of urologists? Graduating urology residents’ practices of and attitudes toward social media

Kunal Jain, Michael B. Fuoco, Gagan Fervaha, Michael J. Leveridge


Introduction: Social media (SoMe) have revolutionized healthcare, but physicians remain hesitant to adopt SoMe in their practices. We sought to assess graduating urology residents’ practices of and attitudes toward SoMe.

Methods: A close-ended questionnaire, employing five-point Likert scales, was distributed to all final-year residents (n=100) in Canadian urology training programs in 2012, 2014, and 2016 to assess SoMe usage and perceived usefulness.

Results: All (100%) questionnaires were completed. Respondents frequently used online services for personal (100%) and professional (96%) purposes. Most (92%) used SoMe. Many (73%) frequently used SoMe for personal purposes, but few (12%) frequently used SoMe for professional purposes. While a majority (59%) opposed direct patient interaction online, most supported using SoMe to provide patients with static information (76%) and collaborate with colleagues (65%). Many (70‒73%) were optimistic that novel solutions to privacy issues in online communications will arise, making SoMe and email contact with patients conceivable. Few (2‒8%) were aware and had read guidelines and legislations regarding physician online practices; however, awareness of medical associations’ and institutional SoMe policies significantly increased over time (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Despite their active online use, graduating urology residents rarely used SoMe in professional settings and were wary of using it in patient care. Nevertheless, they were optimistic toward its integration in urology and supported its use in physician-physician communication. Considering SoMe’s increased influence on urology and graduating residents’ limited awareness of guidelines and legislations, postgraduate medical educators should encourage residents to become more familiar with current online communication recommendations.

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5489/cuaj.5042