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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 246-250

Assessment of social media usage and its influence among dental faculty members in Davangere city – A cross sectional survey


Department of Public Health Dentistry, Bapuji Dental College and Hospital, Davangere, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission17-Nov-2017
Date of Acceptance10-Jun-2018
Date of Web Publication6-Aug-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nisha Makkar
Room No. 08, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Bapuji Dental College and Hospital, MCC B Block, Davangere - 577 004, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jiaphd.jiaphd_143_17

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  Abstract 

Background: Rapid increases in dental knowledge and associated technologies, a growing integration of evidence-based practice into the curriculum, and shifting faculty roles (from lecturers and content experts to facilitators) have profoundly altered dental education. Aim: The aim of this study is to assess the usage of social media and its influence on clinical practice among dental faculty members of dental colleges in Davangere city. Materials and Methods: Descriptive cross-sectional survey was carried out among the convenience sample of 88 dental faculty members of two dental colleges in Davangere city. An investigator-designed questionnaire comprising 15 close-ended questions related to the usage and various aspects of the influence of social media was used as a tool in the present survey. Ethical clearance was obtained from Institutional Review Board of Ethics committee of college. Descriptive statistics were generated regarding frequencies and percentages. Results: Among the participants, 64.8% reported the use of social media in their profession. Around 62.5% used social media to exchange opinions and views regarding cases with colleagues. According to 39.8% of participants, it can potentially improve the quality of care delivered to patients. Conclusion: In the present study, dental faculty used social media for many reasons, but mainly to serve public and other dental professionals and to communicate with other dental professionals on social media. Since social media in dental education is still in its infancy, research should be undertaken to determine the optimal ways for incorporating these technologies into both traditional and e-learning courses.

Keywords: Dental Professionals, Dentistry, Marketing, Social media, Technology


How to cite this article:
Makkar N, Lawrence D, Veeresh D J, Banik A, Kumar A, Mehar AS. Assessment of social media usage and its influence among dental faculty members in Davangere city – A cross sectional survey. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2018;16:246-50

How to cite this URL:
Makkar N, Lawrence D, Veeresh D J, Banik A, Kumar A, Mehar AS. Assessment of social media usage and its influence among dental faculty members in Davangere city – A cross sectional survey. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2018 [cited 2018 Nov 17];16:246-50. Available from: http://www.jiaphd.org/text.asp?2018/16/3/246/238578


  Introduction Top


Social Media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage and build relationships.

-David Alston

In 1989, access to information changed dramatically with the invention of the World Wide Web. The initial launch of the Internet, with relatively few “content creators,” can be classified as Web 1.0. Conversely, Web 2.0 websites depend on the collaborative work of many content creators and also includes social media.[1]

There is an ongoing increase in the use of social media globally, including in health-care contexts.[2] Kaplan and Haenlein[3] defined social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.” The term generally refers to Internet-based tools that allow individuals and communities to gather and communicate; to share information, ideas, personal messages, images, and other content; and in some cases, to collaborate with other users in real time. Social media are also referred to as “Web 2.0” or “social networking.” Social media sites include blogs, social networks, video-sharing and photo-sharing sites, wikis, or a myriad of other media, which can be grouped by purpose, serving functions such as social networking (Facebook, MySpace, Google Plus, and Twitter), professional networking (LinkedIn), media sharing (YouTube, Flickr), content production (blogs [Tumblr, Blogger] and microblogs (Twitter), knowledge/information aggregation (Wikipedia), and virtual reality and gaming environments (Second Life).[4]

The use of social media is prevalent across all ages and professions and is pervasive worldwide. Across India, there are 143 million users of social media of which 118 million are of urban areas and 25 million from rural India. Facebook emerged the leading social media website with 96% of urban users accessing it, followed by Google Plus (61%), Twitter (43%), and LinkedIn (24%). The largest segment of users is college going students (34%), followed by young men (27%) and school children (12%).[5]

With the use of social media so common, it is not surprising that doctors, hospitals, and other health-care professionals are using social media to market, communicate, and connect with their patients. India, has nearly 100,000 dentists, we are probably one of the largest hubs for dental sciences in Asia. As per a survey report, in India, 90% of the dentists used social media for their personal use and interestingly >65% made use of it for their work as well.[6] Recently, dentistry has shown an interest in using social media to communicate and market to its patients. In 2010, dental town magazine devoted a significant amount of the publication to the use of social media in the dental practice. Social media can be used in multiple facets of a dental practice. Some popular uses include marketing deals and promotions, sharing news and updates, networking, sharing knowledge through a blog, and providing customer service or monitoring reviews. Social media is also an affordable way to advertise a dental practice.[7] There they can read news articles, listen to experts, research medical developments, consult colleagues regarding patient issues, and it is also providing a platform for sharing cases and ideas, discuss practice management challenges, make referrals, disseminate their research, market their practices, or engage in health advocacy.[4]

Many studies have described the use of social media tools to enhance clinical students' understanding of communication, professionalism, and ethics.[4] The use of social media in dentistry is emerging. An important factor to assess is dental educators' level of familiarity with these social networks. If dental educators are not accustomed or receptive to these new applications, the utility of social media to facilitate teaching and learning may be under-recognized, and not fully explored.[8] However, in medical and dental care, a large number of stakeholders (e.g., clinicians, administrators, professional colleges, academic institutions, ministries of health, and among others) are unaware of social media's relevance, potential applications in their day-to-day activities, as well as the inherent risks, and how these may be attenuated and mitigated.[9] Hence, the present study was planned with an aim of assessing the usage of social media and its influence on clinical practice among dental faculty members of dental colleges in Davangere city. This is important to establish whether social media improves dental health practices.

Research question

How often dental faculty members in Davangere city use social media and what is its influence on their clinical practice?


  Materials and Methods Top


A cross-sectional survey was conducted to assess the usage of social media and its influence on clinical practice among dental faculty members of dental colleges in Davangere city. The present study was designed and approved in July 2015 and data collection was started during the months of December and January, 2015. A purposive sampling was used in this study where, all the dental faculty members of the two dental colleges were included in the study to avoid any selection bias.

Prior permission for conducting this survey was obtained from the principals and all the Heads of the Departments after appraising them about the study. Ethical clearance was obtained from the Institutional Ethics Review Board (Ref No. BDC/Exam/165/2015-26). A written voluntary informed consent was obtained from the study participants before the start of the study. A pilot study was conducted to evaluate the reliability and validity (face and content validity) of the questionnaire and internal consistency of the questionnaire by random administration of questionnaire to 10 faculty members from the pool of dental faculty members. Their feedback so obtained was attended according to the necessity to remove the ambiguity in the final questionnaire and subjecting the data to Cronbach's test (Cronbach's alpha of 0.7).

The survey instrument employed was an investigator-designed questionnaire comprising two sections as follows:

  • Section I: the demographic details of the participants such as name, age, gender, name of the department and institution, designation, number of years of teaching experience, and years of clinical practice were recorded
  • Section II: Containing 15 questions to acquire the information regarding usage, frequency, purpose, utilization of social media in advising patients, and improving quality of care were recorded.


The investigator distributed the survey questionnaire to all dental faculty members at their respective departments during college timings. The participants were given a day to complete the form. The completed forms were collected back the next day.

Statistical analysis

Statistical Package for Social Sciences software version 20 (IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0, IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA) was used to analyze the data. The level of significance was set at 5%. Results were generated regarding percentages, means as appropriate to provide the overall picture of the responses.


  Results Top


The sample population for this study comprised all the 88 dental faculty members of two dental colleges in Davangere city. The demographic details of the study participants are presented in [Figure 1] and [Figure 2], among which 33 (37.5%) were male and 55 (62.7%) were female. Majority of the study participants 39 (44.3%) has <5 years teaching experience and clinical experience [Figure 3]. [Table 1] shows the responses of the study population to the questionnaire which represents the usage of social media by 57 (64.8%) study participants, but it was seldom. Most of the study participants visit Facebook (94.3%) to attain information for the clinical profession, as this is one of the popular social site comprising discussion forums regarding clinical cases.
Figure 1: Distribution (%) of study participants by gender

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Figure 2: Distribution (%) of study participants by age

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Figure 3: Distribution (%) of study participants by number of years of teaching and clinical practice

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Table 1: Responses of study participants to the questionnaire

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Many respondents 57 (64.8%) had embraced social media and 64 (72.7%) used for 4–5 times in a day. Around 47 (53.4%) participants, reported the purpose of social media usage is to communicate with other dental professional and serve public, 52 (59.1%) refer articles or research for clinical practice, and only very few (14.8%) utilize for marketing. Majority of participants, i.e., 48 (54.5%) favor the opinion that social media has potential to improve the quality of care. Only, nine (10.2%) participants trust the credibility of information/content on social media. A total of 44 (50%) study participants responded that social media has some potential to affect decision or diagnosis for treatment. Around 44 (50%) study candidates would recommend the website to patient.


  Discussion Top


In recent years, social media has become ubiquitous. The explosive growth of social media has provided millions of people the opportunity to create and share the content on a scale barely imaginable few years ago. A Price waterhouse Cooper[10] conducted survey asked over a thousand patients and over a hundred health-care executives what they thought of the way many healthcare companies are utilizing social media and the Web, and results show the most trusted resources online are those posted by doctors (60%), followed by nurses (56%), and hospitals (55%). Today, more and more members of the medical and dental profession are embracing social media for sharing helpful medical information and providing patient care.

Dentists are beginning to utilize various forms of social media to inform and recruit patients, not only for clinical care but also for online studies and clinical trials,[11] and also to educate dental students more effectively and adjust pedagogical methodology.[12] Given the rapid growth in the popularity of social networking applications and the relative paucity of available information about their utility in dental education, therefore, the purpose of this study was to obtain a snapshot of the extent to which dental faculty members use social media applications, the sites they prefer, the reasons for their use, and its influence on the clinical practice.

Certainly, the findings of this study could by no means be generalized to the whole dentist population, due to the limitations imposed using the sampling method. Despite this limitation, the study gives a clear indication that dental faculty is engaging social media in clinical practice. There is an association between the frequency of social media interaction and age that the majority of current users are females under the age of 36 years. Most of the respondents reported some utilization of social media applications with 4–5 sessions per day, mainly to serve public and other dental professionals, communicate with other dental professionals on social media to exchange opinions and views regarding cases with colleagues, and for referring articles or research for clinical practice. Similar results were reported in a study done by Snyman and Visser[13]

Thus, a core group of faculty members appears to be regular users of social media applications. As they are no doubt aware of the popularity of social media sites with students,[8] these educators may be more likely to integrate such applications in their teaching.

Despite claims that social media is becoming the most recent marketing phenomenon due to its remarkable advantages in the business area majority of the respondents did not use social media for marketing purposes. These results are collinear with a study done by Rajan et al. in which considerable majority, (87% of the surveyed dentists), did not consider social networking sites to be serious media for the marketing of their practices and the sharing of information, while only 12% had acquired patients through these networking sites.[13] Clearly, this is a gap that could be addressed, and it is recommended that dental training institutions should develop training courses for dental practitioners on social media marketing, in liaison with other stakeholders such as marketing specialists.

The social media applications have potential to improve the quality of care delivered to patients according to the respondents of the survey. In an online cross-sectional survey by Wicks et al.,[14] established the range of benefits related to the extent of social media usage by patients. Most of the faculty members' trust the credibility of information/content on social media similar to survey conducted on patients and health-care executives.[15] Most of the study participants favored affect the relationship with a patient who has social media accessibility. A study conducted by Bosslet et al.[16] reported improved communication medical doctor–patients interactions due to social media usage. Majority of the study participants did not or sometimes allow patients to assess their information through a website cloud be due to the marginal usage of social media for marketing and advertisement or promotion of their practice. In case of recommendation of any trusted medical website to patients less than half respondents were in favor, maybe due to ethical and professional issues in concerned.

Limitation of the study is lack of literature and previous studies on this topic. This meant that a validated survey tool did not previously exist, and had to be created to study this topic in this population. As the survey tool did not undergo formal psychometric validation, we cannot be sure of the validity and reliability of the findings.

Recommendations

Further research should be conducted on a larger population in which dental students are randomly selected from different colleges. Due to rapid growth in the utilization of social media applications by students and other members of society, dental educators should consider exploring the use of social media as an adjunct in teaching. However, the potential benefits of the technology, such as increased student interaction, should be balanced with the potential disadvantages.

Although few would dispute the influence that the use of social media has on today's students, the suitability and appropriateness of social media integration into dental curricula require further piloting and evaluation. As social media and other electronic communication channels emerge and rapidly proliferate, this may present new threats to professionalism, such as problems with miscommunication and boundary violations. Thus, social media represent the development of a new form of professionalism that should be continuously enhanced by developing one's skills while carefully monitoring for error.


  Conclusion Top


In the present study, dental faculty used social media for many reasons, but mainly to serve public and other dental professional and to communicate with other dental professionals on social media. They often utilize Internet to refer articles or research for clinical practice. Since social media in dental education is still in its infancy, research should be undertaken to determine optimal ways for incorporating these technologies into both traditional and E-learning courses. There is a need for education in the professional use of social media in dentistry to address concerns about appropriate use both legally and professionally.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
McAndrew M, Johnston AE. The role of social media in dental education. J Dent Educ 2012;76:1474-81.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Moorhead SA, Hazlett DE, Harrison L, Carroll JK, Irwin A, Hoving C, et al. A new dimension of health care: Systematic review of the uses, benefits, and limitations of social media for health communication. J Med Internet Res 2013;15:e85.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Kaplan AM, Haenlein M. Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Bus Horiz 2010;53:59-68.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Ventola CL. Social media and health care professionals: Benefis, risks, and best practices. P T 2014;39:491-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Bhargava Y. Social Media Use Doubles in Rural India. The Hindu. Published: June 20, 2015; 03:30. Available from: http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/social-media-use-doubles-in-rural-india/article7334735.ece. [Last accessed on 2016 Apr 23; 9:30 pm].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Social Media Adoption among Dental Surgeons in Metros in India | VikramVenkateswaran | The Dental Education, India | Indian Dental Congress 2015, Bengaluru, India. Available from: http://www.dentalcongress.com/india/abstract/2015/social-media-adoptionamong-dental-surgeons-in-metros-in-india. [Last accessed on 2016 Apr 24; at 4:15 pm].  Back to cited text no. 6
    
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Henry RK, Molnar A, Henry JC. A survey of US dental practices' use of social media. J Contemp Dent Pract 2012;13:137-41.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Arnett MR, Loewen JM, Romito LM. Use of social media by dental educators. J Dent Educ 2013;77:1402-12.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Grajales FJ 3rd, Sheps S, Ho K, Novak-Lauscher H, Eysenbach G. Social media: A review and tutorial of applications in medicine and health care. J Med Internet Res 2014;16:e13.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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Kotenko J. The Doctor Will See You Now: How the Internet and Social Media are Changing Healthcare. The Manual Essential Guide for Men; 2013. Available from: http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/the-internet-and-healthcare. [Last accessed on 2016 Mar 25].  Back to cited text no. 10
    
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Spallek H, Turner SP, Donate-Bartfield E, Chambers D, McAndrew M, Zarkowski P, et al. Social media in the dental school environment, part A: Benefits, challenges, and recommendations for use. J Dent Educ 2015;79:1140-52.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Parkinson JW, Turner SP. Use of social media in dental schools: Pluses, perils, and pitfalls from a legal perspective. J Dent Educ 2014;78:1558-67.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Snyman L, Visser JH. The adoption of social media and social media marketing by dentists in South Africa. SADJ 2014;69:258, 260-4.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Wicks P, Massagli M, Frost J, Brownstein C, Okun S, Vaughan T, et al. Sharing health data for better outcomes on PatientsLikeMe. J Med Internet Res 2010;12:e19.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Scanfeld D, Scanfeld V, Larson EL. Dissemination of health information through social networks: Twitter and antibiotics. Am J Infect Control 2010;38:182-8.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Bosslet GT, Torke AM, Hickman SE, Terry CL, Helft PR. The patient-doctor relationship and online social networks: Results of a national survey. J Gen Intern Med 2011;26:1168-74.  Back to cited text no. 16
    


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