Social Media in Hip Arthroscopy Is an Underused Resource That Enhances Physician Online Reputation

Arthrosc Sports Med Rehabil. 2021 Dec 30;4(2):e349-e357. doi: 10.1016/j.asmr.2021.10.009. eCollection 2022 Apr.


Purpose: To analyze the impact of professional social media (SM) presence, activity level, and physician practice-specific variables on online ratings and rating frequency for hip arthroscopists across 3 leading physician review websites (PRWs).

Methods: The Arthroscopy Association of North America and American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine directories were queried to identify practicing hip arthroscopists. Physicians included were residency-trained surgeons practicing within the United States. Surgeon ratings, comments, and reviews were compiled from 3 PRWs (Google, Healthgrades, Vitals). Google searches assessed for professional Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts and demographic information. Surgeons were considered active if they posted the month before data collection. Logistical regression and a univariate model analyzed effects of demographic factors and other variables on SM use and PRW statistics.

Results: In total, 555 surgeons met inclusion criteria (93.2% male, 6.8% female); 41% had a professional SM account (27.4% Facebook, 24.3% Twitter, 12.1% Instagram). Few surgeons with SM actively posted (30.5% Facebook, 43.7% Twitter, 37.3% Instagram). Surgeons with any SM had significantly greater number of ratings on all review websites (P < .001). Linear regression revealed academic physicians had lower number of ratings (P = .002) and average ratings (P < .001). Instagram users had an average 12.4 more ratings. Surgeons more likely to use SM resided in greater population cities (990 vs 490 [per 1,000]) with higher surgeon density (3.3 vs 2.2).

Conclusions: Most hip arthroscopists have no professional SM, and fewer frequently post content. SM presence significantly increases the number of ratings on PRWs but does not affect overall rating. Surgeons using SM practice in more populous cities with more competition. Academic surgeons had fewer ratings and lower average ratings. A professional Instagram account can increase the number of online ratings.

Clinical relevance: Understanding how SM presence affects an orthopaedic surgeon's practice may provide information on how surgeons best connect with patients.