The Internet for Surgeons

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The majority of colorectal surgeons in NZ use ResearchGate, while only a quarter of Australian surgeons do so.

Surgeons should know the legal liability of consenting to patient-demanded treatment

The reasons for this are unclear, but the lower overall number and relative geographical isolation of NZ colorectal surgeons may drive them online to discuss research and look for collaborators. Surgical education is also being enhanced by social media. Ibrahim at el report that social media outlets provide a valuable platform for surgeons to collaborate and plan for difficult operative cases 19 , and Carter et al state that video-based peer feedback through social networking accelerates the robotic surgery learning curve during simulation A further aspect of social media use in surgery is its commercial application.

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A surgeon may create a business-related social media profile to reach a larger number of potential patients. Social media can then provide a rapid, direct way to communicate with patients. However, a potential pitfall is that patients may become overly-reliant on social media, seeing it as a substitute for face-to-face consultations with surgeons, possibly leading to delays in diagnoses and treatment.

Multiple other hazards related to social media use exist. Doctors are warned that inappropriate use of social media can result in harm to patients and the profession, including breaches of confidentiality, defamation of colleagues or employers, and violation of doctor-patient boundaries. The professional integrity of doctors and medical students can also be damaged through problematic interprofessional online relationships, and unintended exposure of personal information to the public, employers or universities Surgeons need to exercise caution be aware of the social media policies of their institutions and professional bodies in order to protect themselves online.

Our data set is unique as it provides a real-world look at social media use by colorectal surgeons in Australia and NZ. The ease of access to the information gives a realistic idea of what a member of the general public might find if they were attempting to gather information about their colorectal surgeon. Furthermore, our study utilises freely-available data gathered directly from online sources and is free from bias. The project was limited by the constraints of internet web searches; some surgeons employ enhanced privacy settings, meaning that they could not be identified without a direct connection to their account.

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However, these challenges provide an accurate representation of what it might be like for a member of the public to seek out a colorectal surgeon online. While our study demonstrates the uptake of social media among colorectal surgeons, there is lack of data on how surgeons are using social media. Only limited information was gleaned regarding activity on social media; a survey of the nature of social media use among colorectal surgeons would provide a useful adjunct to our data set.

Because the data collected in this study is accessible by simple web searches, the study is easily reproducible and could be conducted again in a number of years to determine whether the uptake of social media amongst colorectal surgeons was increasing. Colorectal surgeons in Australia and NZ are users of multiple different social media platforms, and a significant proportion of surgeons utilise private or group websites to promote their practice. Younger surgeons are more involved with social media than their older peers and LinkedIn is the most utilised social media platform. Given the potential for both educational and commercial benefits of social media use, it is of benefit for colorectal surgeons to keep pace with this ever-evolving technology.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4. Journal Menu. Journals A-Z. All Subjects. Publications are Open. Join Editorial Board. Propose a Special Issue. Download Manuscript Template. Article Versions. Global Journal of Surgery. Radojcic, Matija, et al. Radojcic, M. Global Journal of Surgery , 6 1 , Research Article. Open Access Peer-reviewed. DOI: Toggle navigation. Abstract Background: Social media encompasses multiple forms of electronic communication where users create online communities to share ideas, information and other content.

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Keywords: social media internet colorectal surgery medical education. Introduction The internet era has forged a new approach to communication, allowing for instantaneous sharing and dissemination of information between users around the globe. Download as. Figures index.

Figure 1. Average number of social media accounts per surgeon as related to years in practice.

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