TikTok! The Doctor Will See You Now!

Dr. Adam Tabriz

Physicians Have Realized The Utility Of TikTok App In Patient Engagement

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From the time of the introduction of cyberspace to date, social media platforms have continually disrupted all industries. The Healthcare domain also has its particular share of social media disruption.

The healthcare system has benefited from social media mainly through improved communication and understanding of people’s needs.

Social media’s role in improving healthcare delivery, patient engagement, and patient care Continues to be controversial. However, one of the most engaging social media platforms that caught my attention is the TikTok platform.

I am personally not a TikTok user. However, the Chinese short video creation, discovery, and sharing medium is widespread amongst young audiences.

Also referred to as a musical app for young people, individuals as young as 13 years of age use TikTok App to express themselves through singing, dancing, comedy, and lip-syncing. It allows users to create videos and share them across a community.

Americans Rely On Social Media For Their Health, Including TikTok

Based on a report, 65% of Americans rely on Dr. Google to get the advice they need. That is even before they decide to visit their family physician. 20% reach out to TikTok and 33% to Youtube for consultation.

While Americans rely on social media for medical advice, they also look for reliability (55%) or Certification in the influencers. (26%)

Depression, anxiety, and weight loss constitute the top three issues Americans seek to consult health influencers on social media.

According to Recruitics, healthcare workers comprise a vast community of TikTok users contributing to over 11.2 Billion site views as of August 2022. These job seekers tend to engage in the latest trends, share their experiences, and engage with other healthcare professionals.

TikTok, Physician Professionalism Vs. White Coat Marketing

Despite the overwhelming benefit TikTok brings to the healthcare domain, if not careful, physicians can slip into the trap of defamatory accusations and be the target of the Whitecoat marketing scheme.

Indeed, one can always emphasize the significance of protecting patient information, being very clear on focusing on general information, and fighting against misinformation.

Being vigilant about preventing a conflict of interest is also essential regarding the utility of TikTok in the healthcare domain.

3rd party entities sponsor a significant proportion of healthcare influencers on Social media, including TikTok. Thus the indiscriminate contribution of valuable content may spark a conflict of interest via that sponsorship.

There Is More Research Needed To Ensure Sound TikTok Utility In HealthCare

With the increasing amalgamation of healthcare delivery with TikTok, so is the responsibility of public health.

There is a need for further and focused investigation on TikTok utility in healthcare with more focus on preventing a conflict of interest and concerning a younger audience.

Illumination publication initially publicized this piece!


Comp G, Dyer S, Gottlieb M. Is TikTok The Next Social Media Frontier for Medicine? AEM Educ Train. 2020 Oct 21;5(3):10.1002/aet2.10532. doi: 10.1002/aet2.10532. PMID: 34095694; PMCID: PMC8155692.
Razorfish Health. “Move Over Gen Z: The Rise of HCPs on TikTok — Razorfish Health,” July 12, 2021. https://www.razorfishhealth.com/blog-1/move-over-gen-z-the-rise-of-hcps-on-tiktok
Dyke, Melissa Van. “Benefits of Using TikTok For Healthcare Recruitment.” Benefits of Using TikTok For Healthcare Recruitment Accessed December 21, 2022. https://info.recruitics.com/blog/tiktok-for-healthcare-recruitment
Why “white coat marketing” is under legal fire. “Why ‘white Coat Marketing’ Is under Legal Fire,” January 8, 2019 https://www.advisory.com/Daily-Briefing/2019/01/08/drug-lawsuit
MarTech.Health. “Should Healthcare Organizations Use TikTok?” Accessed December 21, 2022. https://martech.health/articles/should-healthcare-organizations-use-tiktok
Mason, Scott. “5 Hospitals That Are Doing Healthcare Marketing on TikTok Right — GLC | Your Audience Awaits.” GLC | Your Audience Awaits, September 14, 2022. https://glcdelivers.com/5-hospitals-that-are-doing-healthcare-marketing-on-tiktok-right/

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