Exponential growth of social media utilization among orthopaedic surgery residency programs: A cross-sectional study

Daniel L. Rodkey*, Sarah Y. Nelson, Alexander E. Lundy, Melvin D. Helgeson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the extent to which orthopaedic training programs utilize social media for education, recruitment, and engagement. Methods: A cross-sectional study of Instagram utilization by orthopaedic surgery residency programs that were accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education was performed from September 27, 2020 to October 7, 2020. If an account existed, engagement metrics including account type, number of posts, post types, number of followers, and number of accounts being followed were identified. Programs were also evaluated for US News and World Report rank, Doximity rank, program size, board pass rates, gender diversity, and years since accreditation. Accounts were analyzed using Student t-Test, Spearman correlation, and regression analysis. Results: Of 201 accredited programs, 11 were either military or unaffiliated with the Association of American Medical Colleges. From the 190 remaining eligible programs, 91 (47.9%) had an active Instagram account. The number of programs with an account exhibited exponential growth over the past year (R2=0.93). The median number of posts was 22 (range 1 to 272), the median number of followers was 773 (range 99 to 2882), and the median number of following was 158 (range 6 to 740). Fifteen of 89 program accounts (16.9%) had a live story posted within 24 hr of review. Conclusions: The use of Instagram as a social media channel for orthopaedic residency programs has demonstrated exponential growth over the past year. These accounts offer unique and convenient ways to showcase a residency program. The development of a national or academy guidelines for use and content is recommended. Level of Evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-504
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Orthopaedic Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Instagram
  • medical education
  • online
  • orthopaedic residency
  • surgical training


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