Devera AD, et al. Understanding How Hand Surgery Hashtags are Used to Educate and Promote. Presented at: Association for Healthcare Social Media meeting; July 26, 2020 (virtual meeting).
Healio Orthopedics was unable to confirm Devera’s relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication. Please see the full study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
For the amount of hand surgeries performed annually, hand surgery hashtags are underrepresented on social media, and surgeons are missing opportunities to promote education and market the specialty, according to presented results.
Adrian Zachary Devera, BS, presented findings of his study on hand surgeons and social media use at the Association for Healthcare Social Media meeting – which was held virtually.
“We see that hand surgery has a limited presence in social media,” Devera said in his presentation. “Currently, the majority of posts about hand surgery are not educational, but there is definitely room for improvement. There is definitely an opportunity there for hand surgeons to use Instagram as an educational platform,” he added.
Devera and colleagues from the department of plastic surgery at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Medicine identified the top hand surgery-related hashtags on Instagram and assessed the posts for relevancy and educational value.
In 2018, hand surgery was one of the top five most-performed procedures in plastic and reconstructive surgery, Devera said. Yet, compared to other specialties, hand surgery content and hashtags were underused.
According to the study, the most common hashtag was #handsurgery with 46,800 posts on Instagram, #handsurgeon accounted for 8,100 posts and #handsurgeryrecovery accounted for 172 posts.
“We saw that a majority of the posts were noneducational, and that came in a 54%, while 46% of the posts were educational,” Devera said.
Orthopedics hand surgeons comprised of only 20% of the posts, with nonsurgical fields – like physical therapy and occupational therapy – accounting for 66.7% and plastic hand surgeons accounting for 13.3%, he added.
“This discrepancy between educational and noneducational posts presents opportunity for hand surgeons and medical professionals alike to use Instagram as a platform for patient education,” Devera said.
“From the perspective of a surgeon, you can post about different procedures; you can talk about different diagnosis, and you can talk about a lot of things relating to the field of hand surgery,” he said. “Secondly, they can use it as a marketing tool. You will see a lot of medical professionals posting on Instagram to promote their own practice,” he said.
“Instagram is an influential tool for surgeons around the world to communicate with patients and peers,” Devera concluded. “Over the next few years, it can definitely grow and expand.”