Radiology and social media: are private practice radiology groups more social than academic radiology departments?

J Am Coll Radiol. 2015 May;12(5):513-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2014.11.005. Epub 2015 Feb 21.


Purpose: This study assesses the prevalence of use of the most commonly used social media sites among private radiology groups (PRGs) and academic radiology departments (ARDs).

Methods: The 50 largest PRGs and the 50 ARDs with the highest level of funding from the National Institutes of Health were assessed for presence of a radiology-specific social media account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Measures of organizational activity and end-user activity were collected, including the number of posts and followers, as appropriate; between-group comparisons were performed.

Results: PRGs adopted Facebook 12 months earlier (P = .02) and Twitter 18 months earlier (P = .02) than did ARDs. A total of 76% of PRGs maintained ≥1 account on the social media sites included in the study, compared with 28% of ARDs (P < .0001). The prevalence of having an account on the social media sites for PRGs was: Facebook, 66%; LinkedIn, 56%; Twitter, 42%; YouTube, 20%; Pinterest, 4%; and Instagram, 2%. The prevalence of radiology-specific social media accounts for ARDs was: Facebook, 18%; LinkedIn, 0%; Twitter, 24%; YouTube, 6%; Pinterest, 0%; and Instagram, 0%. There was no significant difference between ARDs and PRGs in measures of end-user or organizational activity on Facebook or Twitter.

Conclusions: Use of social media in health care is emerging as mainstream, with PRGs being early adopters of Facebook and Twitter in comparison with ARDs. Competitive environments and institutional policies may be strong factors that influence how social media is used by radiologists at the group and department levels.

Keywords: Social media; academic radiology; patient engagement; private practice radiology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Consumer Health Information / statistics & numerical data*
  • Private Practice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Radiology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Radiology Department, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Media / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States