Doctors too use social networking sites for professional purposes, but not all of them to the same extent. Healthcare professionals in emerging countries are generally more ‘connected’ than in Europe.

Doctors’ Use of Social Networking Sites Differs from Country to Country

In comparison with their European colleagues, physicians in Asia, India and Russia seem more inclined to use social networking sites to help them with their work. Cegedim Strategic Data, a leading provider of healthcare market research, has just released the results of its online study which shows that Japanese doctors are the biggest fans of online medical communities, with 78% of the medical profession in Japan making use of them. Next in line come doctors in China (55%), India (54%) and Russia (52%). In contrast, less than half of all doctors in European countries take part in online medical communities. In Spain the figure is 48%, in the United Kingdom 40%, and 39% in Germany. The countries which are the least advanced in the adoption of such dedicated communities are Italy (15%) and – lagging far behind – France with 9%.

Choose your network

Along the same lines, the adoption of the mainstream social networks Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for professional purposes is far more prevalent among physicians in emerging countries than in Europe.  Out in front here are Indian doctors, some 58% of members of the profession in the subcontinent surveyed reporting that they use these tools. Usage figures then drop sharply however, with just 31% using mainstream social media in Brazil, 29% in China and 25% in Russia. Despite these lower figures, the emerging countries are still ahead of European countries such as the United Kingdom, Spain, and Germany, where 21%, 18% and 11% respectively of doctors report using these online tools. Once again, Italy and France come in last – with 10% and 7% respectively.

A less clear-cut situation

However, the findings of the study are less clear-cut when we observe how doctors use the Internet for professional networking. Although the top two places are occupied by emerging countries - India with 65% and Brazil with 56% -  some European countries are not that far behind. This is the case in the United Kingdom, where 51% use the Internet for medical networking; they are followed by German doctors, with a 47% rate. These two countries are even ahead of China (44%) and Russia (35%). Nevertheless one trend remains unaltered - the reluctance of Italian and French medical professionals, who once again appear least likely to use online networks, only 21% of the doctors surveyed in Italy and 16% in France doing so.