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The Rapidly Increasing Usefulness of Social Media in Urogynecology

Alas, Alexandriah MD*; Sajadi, Kamran P. MD; Goldman, Howard B. MD; Anger, Jennifer T. MD, MPH§

Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery: July/August 2013 - Volume 19 - Issue 4 - p 210–213
doi: 10.1097/SPV.0b013e3182909872
Original Articles
Journal Club
Journal Club Q and A

Objective: We assessed the availability and quality of urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse information in social medias and the growth of such information in the past 13 months.

Methods: We focused on the most popular social medias (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) to evaluate the key words “urogynecology,” “pelvic organ prolapse,” “stress incontinence,” “urge incontinence,” and “incontinence.” Initial evaluation included top 30 search results for key word “incontinence” to compare with our study in 2010, followed by a secondary search using the top 100 items. Results were classified as useful or not useful and then further categorized by health care providers, others, commercial, or humorous in intent. Results with the intent of providing information were presumed to be informative.

Results: Comparative search over a 13-month period showed a stable amount of useful information, 40% to 39%, but an increase in the number of health professionals (22% vs 13%). However, of the 817 search results, 406 (50%) were medically useful. Only 28% were written by health professionals, but of the informative results, 56% were written by health professionals. Finally, specific search terms provided the highest relevant and useful information, but also limited the number of search items found.

Conclusions: Over 13 months, there was an increase in useful information presented from health professionals. These changes may reflect the medical community’s growing awareness of the usefulness of social media. If these trends continue, we predict the use of these medias for medical purposes will continue to increase among medical professionals.

Due to rising amounts of medical information in social media, physician should work to ensure that accurate and informative information is available to their patients.

From the *Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA; †Division of Urology, Oregon Healthy & Science University, Portland, OR; ‡Center for Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH; and §Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA.

Reprints: Alexandriah Alas, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8700 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048. E-mail: Alexandriah.alas@cshs.org.

The authors declare that they have nothing to disclose.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins