The objective of this study was to evaluate and characterize the professional and educational information provided online by US orthopaedic surgeons.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) membership directory was used to randomly select 1% of physicians from each state. Name, sex, state, and date of membership were recorded from the AAOS online public membership directory. A Google search was conducted for each member of this cohort. Specific data gathered from each website included practice type, physician subspecialty, website focus (commercial or educational), and the quality of patient education presented were evaluated.
The cohort consisted of 246 orthopaedic surgeons, including 93.1% men and 6.9% women. The AAOS membership duration was less than 10 years for 48.0% of surgeons, 11 to 20 years for 28.9% of surgeons, and greater than 20 years for 23.2% of surgeons. At least one online profile was found for 94.3% of orthopaedic surgeons. Most surgeons, 66.8%, were identified as belonging to a group or solo private practice, although nearly half (48.7%) of all surgeons were also based out of a hospital. Most website profiles, 62.5%, were found to have an intermediate level of educational content, whereas 18.1% of website profiles did not provide any.
The clear majority of US-based orthopaedic surgeons have a professional presence online. Focus on social media or educational content differs regionally, but not based on years in practice.
Level of Evidence:
Level V, prognostic