J Knee Surg
DOI: 10.1055/a-2062-0365
Original Article

Social Media Influence and Gender Are Correlated with Industry Payments to Orthopaedic Sports Surgeons

1   VA Medical Center, VA Maryland Healthcare System, Baltimore, Maryland
2   Department of Orthopaedics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
,
2   Department of Orthopaedics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
,
Jie Jiang
2   Department of Orthopaedics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
,
Nathan O'Hara
2   Department of Orthopaedics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
› Author Affiliations
Funding This work was supported in part by the Career Development Award IK2 BX004879 from the United States (U.S.) Department of Veterans Affairs Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development Service. The contents do not represent the views of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.

Abstract

Social media, specifically Twitter, has become an increasingly used tool in academic orthopaedic surgery to help surgeons connect with patients and peers. This study seeks to understand correlations among social medial influence, academic influence, and gender among academic orthopaedic sport surgeons. A list of all orthopaedic sports surgeons serving as faculty of sports fellowships in the United States was compiled, along with publicly available demographic information. Their Hirsh indices (h-indices) were obtained using the Scopus database. The Physician Payments Sunshine Act Web site was used to determine their industry payments from 2014 through 2020. The number of Twitter followers was used as a measure of social media influence. Multivariable linear regression models were employed to explore the associations between these parameters and industry payments. Of the 633 surgeons, 33% had a Twitter account. Surgeons with > 1,000 followers (7.3%) were awarded 186% more in nonresearch funding (p = 0.01) and had a higher probability of receiving industry research funding compared with those with no followers (p = 0.03). Sports surgeons had an average h-index of 16, with 44% having ≤ 20 publications and 21% having ≥ 100 publications. Surgeons with ≥ 100 publications were awarded 453% more in nonresearch funding (p = 0.001) and had a 32% higher probability of receiving industry research funding (p < 0.001) when compared with their colleagues with ≤ 20 publications. Female sports surgeons accounted for only 7.9% of surgeons included in the study, and were awarded 65% less in industry nonresearch funding compared with their male colleagues (p = 0.004) when controlling for other factors. Both number of publications and a high level of Twitter activity (> 1,000 followers) had the strongest associations with the quantity of industry nonresearch funding and the highest probability of industry research funding. Female sports surgeons received significantly less industry nonresearch funding compared with their male colleagues. Future studies further exploring gender disparities in industry funding for orthopaedic surgeons may be warranted.

Level of Evidence Prognostic, Level III.

Ethical Review Committee Statement

This work does not involve any human or animal subjects.




Publication History

Received: 21 July 2022

Accepted: 13 March 2023

Accepted Manuscript online:
24 March 2023

Article published online:
24 April 2023

© 2023. Thieme. All rights reserved.

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