Exploring the opinions and perspectives of general practitioners towards the use of social networking sites for concussion management

J Prim Health Care. 2013 Mar 1;5(1):36-42.


Introduction: Social networking sites (SNSs) are increasingly being used for health-related purposes. Many patients now use sites such as Facebook to discuss symptoms, seek support, and search for advice on health conditions, including concussion. Innovative methods of delivering health information using these technologies are starting to emerge and it is important to seek the input of key stakeholder groups (including general practitioners) to establish their feasibility and to highlight areas of concern.

Aim: This study aimed to seek the opinions of general practitioners towards the use of SNSs in concussion management.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were captured with a digital voice recorder and analysed using interpretative description methodology. Participants were general practitioners whose caseload included persons with a concussion between the ages of 16 and 30 years, and who had treated a patient with a concussion in the past 12 months.

Findings: The clinical experience of the participants ranged from 3 to 35 years and 50% of the participants had a Facebook account themselves. While all participants were positive towards the use of SNSs for this purpose, concerns were raised regarding the issues of privacy and moderation.

Conclusion: SNSs, particularly Facebook, have the potential (if correctly utilised) to be a viable adjunct to traditional concussion management programmes. In order for SNSs to be successfully used in this manner, the quality of information shared needs to be accurate and patients using them need to ensure that they get adequate cognitive rest.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Brain Concussion / psychology
  • Brain Concussion / therapy*
  • Consumer Health Information / methods
  • Consumer Health Information / standards*
  • General Practitioners / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Internet / standards
  • Internet / trends
  • Interviews as Topic
  • New Zealand
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Privacy
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rest / physiology
  • Rest / psychology
  • Social Networking*