Use of Social Media among Intern Doctors in Regards to Covid-19
Background: The world is not just fighting a pandemic of COVID-19, but also tackling infodemic due to the rampant spread of misinformation and rumor about COVID-19 across various online and printed media. Social media is an easy, quick, and cost-effective source of information but its contents are not regulated. Users also usually don't verify information on social media on authentic sites. So, misinformation spreads at an exponential rate. Intern doctors as a young physician should have scientific knowledge of disease and not be misled by rumors. Also, health-related information shared by health professionals owes greater credibility to the public. This study aims to explore whether or not intern doctors are using social media rationally in regards to COVID-19.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional, mixed-method study carried out among medical and dental interns of KIST Medical College and Teaching Hospital. Data was collected with the help of a self-administered semi-structured questionnaire after pretesting. Two Focus group discussions were conducted to gain in-depth information.
Findings: 65 % percent of the intern doctors most often used social media to gain information about COVID-19 out of which 87.1 % used Facebook more often. Around 46 % just read the full title of news appearing in social media while only 32.9 % read the full text. 36 % share the news just by seeing the title. Nearly 35 % of intern doctors check the authenticity of information on social media by verifying it via experts or from authentic sources.
Conclusion: Rational use of social media is a must to combat the epidemic of COVID 19. Health professionals including young doctors like interns should focus on scientific and evidence-based information and should use social media rationally both for acquisition and dissemination of information on COVID-19.