Healthcare professionals’ editorial opinions on communicating with the public: shifting social media hesitancies

Lina Alhafez, Lourdes Rubio-Rico, Miriam Diez-Bosch

Producción científica: Artículo en revista indizadaArtículorevisión exhaustiva


The increasing infodemic, changes in the media landscape, and the COVID-19 pandemic have rendered healthcare professionals' involvement in social media (SoMe) of urgent need. However, research efforts to understand the opinions, needs, and concerns of healthcare professionals (HCP) tackling this new responsibility have been limited, despite being necessary for designing efficient support for them. In this article we look at varying opinions and attitudes published by HCPs towards the use of SoMe as a tool to communicate health-related information to the public: How did their attitudes develop since the decade preceding the COVID-19 outbreak and what were their main expressed concerns over the years. We conducted a qualitative review of editorials published on this topic in academic journals since 2010 by searching five databases up to December 2022. Thirty-eight (38) articles met the selection criteria. Nineteen (19) expressed a positive attitude, and Nineteen (19) expressed a negative or cautious attitude. Based on the results, the research period (2010-2022) was divided into three stages: 2010-2015, 2016-2018, and 2019-2022. Attitudes in the first stage were positive, the middle was at almost a tie, and the last retreated to negative. The most common concerns cited regarding SoMe use by HCPs are negative effects on physician-patient relationships, HCPs' professional image, patient privacy, the quality of the information provided, conflict of interest declarations, ethical and legal risks, the perception of medical consensus, limited resources, and competing with entertainment. The editorial opinions of HCPs towards professional SoMe use express shifting hesitancies. The earlier optimism succeeded in an era (pre-2010) of cautioning against engaging with SoMe. Concerns in the first stage were mainly related to HCP & PRIME;s behavior and use of SoMe. The last phase's concerns were more oriented toward SoMe platforms, their design, dynamics, and effect on public discourse, with the escalating infodemic and COVID-19 pandemic.
Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo343
Número de páginas17
PublicaciónHumanities and Social Sciences Communications
EstadoPublicada - 21 jun 2023


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