Publication Details

Title :

Social Media and the Orthopaedic Surgeon: a Mixed Methods Study


Acta Inform Med.


Justinia T1,2, Alyami A3,2, Al-Qahtani S4, Bashanfar M4, El-Khatib M4, Yahya A1,2, Zagzoog F1,2.


1 King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Jeddah, Saudia Arabia.

2 King Abdullah International Medical Research Centre, Saudia Arabia.

3 King Abdulaziz Medical City-Jeddah, Saudia Arabia.

4 King Abdulaziz University, Saudia Arabia.

Year of Publication:





Social media continues to grow in size, and popularity. The prevalence of social networking continues to develop and will likely play an increasing role in all aspects of society and business, including in healthcare services. This rapid growth has directly influenced healthcare professionals in the clinical setting.

To assess the perceptions and usage of SM (SM) by OSs (OS) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and its impact on their profession, and to evaluate their level of awareness of the potential risks on their practice.

Quantitative: A cross-sectional survey was distributed to practicing OSs in 15 healthcare centers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (μ=323) using convenience sampling. Data was analyzed using SPSS. Qualitative: Eight OSs were recruited by purposive and snowball sampling and interviewed using a semi-structured approach. Data was analyzed using thematic content analysis.

The Quantitative survey revealed that 165 OSs participated (RR=51%). OSs who use SM partly or entirely for professional purposes represent 53.7% (n=87). The remaining OSs were excluded. Virtually 90% were 40 years old or younger. Residents were less likely to reply to medical questions on SM (p=0.035). It was found that 74.7% of OSs use SM daily. The most commonly used platform was Twitter (75.9%), with Instagram and Snapchat being significantly more used by younger OSs (p= 0.013 and 0.003, respectively). The results of the Qualitative interviews revealed four themes: Guidelines, Ethics and Professionalism; Usage and Perceptions; Doctor-Patient Relationship; Quality of Online Content.

OSs’ perceptions and usage were generally cautious. The major concerns were patient confidentiality, along with ethical and legal consequences. The need to contribute to quality online content was evident. Lack of formal guidelines was a continuous theme. The development of national guidelines on SM use in the orthopaedic profession is recommended.