The ART of social networking: how SART member clinics are connecting with patients online

Almost all Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology member clinics are online, and nearly one-third use social media to connect with patients.

Kenan Omurtag, M.D., Patricia T. Jimenez, M.D., Valerie Ratts, M.D., Randall Odem, M.D., Amber R. Cooper, M.D., M.S.C.I.
Volume 97, Issue 1 , Pages 88-94, January 2012

To study and describe the use of social networking websites among Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) member clinics.

Cross-sectional study.

University-based practice.

Not applicable.

Not applicable.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
Prevalence of social networking websites among SART member clinics and evaluation of content, volume, and location (i.e., mandated state, region) using multivariate regression analysis.

A total of 384 SART-registered clinics and 1,382 social networking posts were evaluated. Of the clinics, 96% had a website and 30% linked to a social networking website. The majority of clinics (89%) with social networking websites were affiliated with nonacademic centers. Social networking posts mostly provided information (31%) and/or advertising (28%), and the remaining offered support (19%) or were irrelevant (17%) to the target audience. Only 5% of posts involved patients requesting information. Clinic volume correlated with the presence of a clinic website and a social networking website.

Almost all SART member clinics have a website. Nearly one-third of these clinics host a social networking website such as Facebook, Twitter, and/or a blog. Large-volume clinics commonly host social networking websites. These sites provide new ways to communicate with patients, but clinics should maintain policies on the incorporation of social networks into practice.

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