The social media landscape is constantly evolving. Given the strong interest and comments received from our members, we have published an updated version of the map.
The proliferation of small and large communities is the result ofphysicians’ increasing need to share ideas and discuss clinical cases with colleagues in every part of the world.
The analysis highlights a very complex social landscape, with a very strong community presence in the US, but also a significant presence of more or less large local communities almost worldwide.
The more the number of communities grow, the greater the need to create stronger niche communities, increasingly unfolding the landascape of physician communities. Trying to find some differentiating features in theaggregation trend of physician communities, we have identified 3 main features:
“Specialized” communities tend to be a smaller group and represent the long tail of physician communities, with a small but very specialized number of subscribers. In this type of aggregation the common feature is the professional specialty and consequently a common specific area of interest. In the radiology field, for example, there are many examples of specialized communities like Radrounds.com or Radiopolis.com.
Location specific communities
Location specific communities usually represent an aggregation of physicians that come from thesame country or speak the same language.
These kinds of communities are generally larger than the specialized ones, since they tend to include all physician specialities.
Usually physicians turn to location specific communities for two main reasons. The first is language, especially in Europe, where due to the multitude of different European languages, localized communities are proliferating quickly. The second is related to local roles and rules shared by physicians coming from the same country with regard to their medical or practice management issues.
Examples of localized communities are DocCheck in Germany and Doctors.net.uk in UK that represent the top European physician communities.
What is also interesting is the presence of physician communities in emerging markets. In China for example the dxy.cn community has 1,7 million members, of which 50% are physicians.
Trustworthy Provider based communities
The last (but not least) aggregation factor depends on the community provider’s trustworthyness. Many physicians prefer to join communities related to scientific societies they belong to or trusted professional websites that they already consider relevant or reliable information sources. This explains the proliferation of physician communities within professional websites such as BMJ (doc2doc community) or related to medical association websites, such as CardioSource from the American College of Cardiology.
Usually these kinds of communities have a significant number of subscribers, largely also due to their existing physician databases.
The physician community landscape is continuously changing, but there is a trend towards growth of smaller communities, which are able to aggregate and keep active specialist interest groups. The true benchmark for measuring the quality and health of a community in this fragmented scenario will be to measure its social life – in order to understand how active each member really is, communicating, playing and sharing information and knowledge to create collective intelligence.