Physician leaders’ cross-boundary use of social media: what are the implications in the current COVID-19 environment?
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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to better understand social media (SM) factors that physician leaders need to consider, as they adapt their cross-boundary practices to engage with colleagues and patients. Firstly, this study explores why SM is being used by physicians to cross horizontal (physician to physician) and stakeholder (physician to patient) boundaries prior to COVID-19. Secondly, based on the studies reviewed, this study provides insights on the practical SM implications for physician leaders working in the COVID-19 environment to actively enhance their practices, reduce public confusion and improve patient care, thus informing health-care practices. Design/methodology/approach: A systematic literature review was used to conduct a structured transparent overview of peer reviewed articles that describe physicians’ use of cross-boundary SM across several disciplines (e.g. health, information science). As a baseline assessment prior to COVID-19, the review synthesized 47 articles, identiﬁed and selected from six databases and Novanet. This study used NVivo 12 to thematical code the articles, leading to the emergence of four broad factors that inﬂuence SM use. Findings: A key reason noted in the literature for physicians use of SM to cross horizontal boundaries is to share knowledge. Regarding stakeholder boundaries, the most cited reasons are to improve patient’s health and encourage behavioural changes. Insights garnered on the practical SM implications include the need for physicians to be stronger leaders in presenting trustworthy and consistent facts about health information to the public and peers. As role models for the effective use of SM tools, physician leaders can mentor and coach their colleagues and counterparts.
Comber, S., Wilson, L., Kelly, S., & McCay-Peet, L. (2021). Physician leaders’ cross-boundary use of social media: what are the implications in the current COVID-19 environment?. Leadership in Health Services. Vol. 34(4), 462-484. DOI 10.1108/LHS-06-2020-0040