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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 181-188

Bridging the gap: Engagement of family and community physicians in digital networks for health issues

1 Department of Family and Community Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Family and Community Medicine, King Fahd Military Medical Complex, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Amani M Alqarni
Department of Family and Community Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, P.O. Box 1982, Dammam 31441
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfcm.jfcm_105_21

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BACKGROUND: The use of social media (SM) is unlocking infinite opportunities for healthcare disciplines and is fast becoming the preferred medium of communication. This underlines the importance of meeting the challenges of this new era. The aim of this study was to assess the readiness of Saudi family medicine physicians to the use of SM in health promotion and to explore their prospective attitudes toward its use professionally. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The two largest hospital-based primary care centers in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia were used for the quantitative analysis. All known physician bloggers in Saudi Arabia from seven different cities were invited to participate in the qualitative aspect of this study. The quantitative component of this study was conducted in the Eastern Province at two main hospitals. A 37-item questionnaire was distributed to all family physicians practising at these hospitals. The qualitative component of this study covered all of Saudi Arabia, and 11 in-depth interviews were held with family physician bloggers, followed by verbatim transcription, content analysis, and coding of the results. Chi-squared and independent t-tests were used. All physicians at the two largest hospitals in the Eastern Province were invited to participate in the quantitative aspect of the study. The response rate was 86.2% (n = 159). RESULTS: Study included 136 primary care physicians; majority were <50 years old (96.3%) with 58.8% females. About 60% were residents and 27.2 % consultants, and 76.5% were were family medicine physicians. Ninety-six percent physicians had SM accounts, the mean use of 3 h per day, 46.3% of the family physicians had good knowledge of SM ethics, and 69.9% used SM professionally for medical issues. Most of the responses showed a strong positive attitude; more than 60% of the participants responded as “agree” or “strongly agree” to the positive statements. CONCLUSION: Organizations urgently need to design their own bioethical guidelines and rules on the safe use of SM by healthcare professionals.

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Journal of Family and Community Medicine | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 05th September, 2010