The cross-over between social media and burns: a review of the literature

Dr Nicholas Tang1, Mr. Anand Ramakrishnan1

1Royal Melbourne Hospital, Mount Waverley, Australia


Background:  In the 21st century, social media has and continues to significantly alter the landscape of medical practice, with its near-ubiquitous influence in our current society[1]. Social media is multi-dimensional in its effect on patient and doctor, providing a platform for increased medical education and awareness, a forum for patient-to-patient interaction and support as well as a means to improve professional relationships amongst health professionals. Studies have previously investigated the role of social media in medical subspecialities and specific patient populations, however there is not much reported regarding the role of social media in the ‘burns’ community. The aim of this study was to review the literature for the impact of social media in burns care.

Methods: A systematic search of the PubMed, Medline and Google Scholar databases was performed using search terms ‘social media’, ‘facebook’, ‘youtube’, ‘twitter’, ‘Linkedin’, ‘blog’, ‘reddit’ AND ‘Burns’. Inclusion criteria included English articles describing the use of various forms of social media in the burns’ community.

Discussion: Only 3 articles were included in the final review. Of these three studies, one described the use of ‘blogging’ by burn’s victims, specifically examining their psychosocial outcomes, another described social media as a means of improving the burns healing support process through peer support while the last explored the role of Twitter in increasing burns awareness.

Conclusion: While there is a paucity of studies exploring the role of social media in the burns community, this phenomenon has as a huge untapped potential in the promotion of health and support in this sector. The results of this review identify a need for further studies to test social media effects on various burns related clinical outcomes and highlights the potential for health professionals to harness social media as a means to improve patient care.

  1. Chui M, M.J., Bughin J, Dobbs R, Roxburgh C, Sarrazin H, et al, The social economy: unlocking value and productivity through social technologies. McKinsey Global Institute; 2012.


Nick is currently a doctor at the Royal Melbourne Hospital

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