Use of social networks by patients submitted to elective surgical procedures: an observational study


Objective: Social networks present continuous growth worldwide. Patients have explored these platforms for purposes of communication on health, which makes possible to get to know professionals and services, in addition to interacting with other patients and physicians. The present study aims at outlining the profile of patients that use social networks to search about surgical procedures, surgeons, and anesthesiologists. It also intends to identify the main platforms used and what patients would like to find in their searches. Methods: An observational, cross-sectional study was conducted that interviewed 200 volunteers submitted to elective surgical procedures. Individuals that reported to not have access to the internet or social media, or that did not answer important questions were excluded, which resulted in a final sample with 87 subjects. Collection of identification data and medical information was made, and subjects were questioned about having or not searched about the surgeon and anesthesiologist on social networks. Results: Female patients who underwent aesthetic procedures present higher tendency to search about the surgeon on social networks and other websites. The most used social media was Instagram, and the most used website was Google. Regarding anesthesiologists, only 3% of participants searched the professionals on social media. Conclusion: The benefits provided by social networks and their impact are increasingly evident, including in health communications, thus leading to dissemination of information, and strengthening of the doctor-patient relationship. It is worth reminding the importance of the ethical stance of physicians on social networks and in the production of reliable contents to patients.


Universidade Regional Integrada do Alto Uruguai e das Missões