June 2022
Volume 63, Issue 7
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2022
Utilization of Instagram by ophthalmology residency programs in the era of COVID-19
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Vivian Qin
    Scheie Eye Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Amy Chen
    University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Hasan Bashir
    Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, New Jersey, United States
  • David Hsu
    University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Lily Wushanley
    Scheie Eye Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Vivian Lee
    Scheie Eye Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Vivian Qin None; Amy Chen None; Hasan Bashir None; David Hsu None; Lily Wushanley None; Vivian Lee None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2022, Vol.63, 1074 – A0169. doi:
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      Vivian Qin, Amy Chen, Hasan Bashir, David Hsu, Lily Wushanley, Vivian Lee; Utilization of Instagram by ophthalmology residency programs in the era of COVID-19. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):1074 – A0169.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose : Social media has become an increasingly utilized tool in academic medicine and in ophthalmology, especially as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions limit in-person interactions. We performed a cross-sectional study of publicly available accounts on the social media platform Instagram to describe the use of Instagram by academic ophthalmology residency programs in the United States over time and analyzed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on ophthalmology’s social media presence.

Methods : Accredited ophthalmology residency programs as of November 2021 were identified using the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) database and were reviewed to identify programs with an affiliated publicly available Instagram account. For each account, the number of posts, followers, and followed accounts were calculated, as well as the year of creation. For the top six ophthalmology Instagram accounts, as determined by number of followers, each post after 2018 was classified into one of six categories (Award/Publication, Department Highlight, Flyer/Holiday, Informal/Candid Group Photo, Medical, or Miscellaneous), and the number of likes and comments was calculated with assistance of a Python script. A two-tailed independent t-test was utilized to analyze user engagement by likes and comments before and after January 2020.

Results : Of the 124 ophthalmology residency programs, 78 (62.9%) were identified as having an affiliated Instagram account, 60 accounts (48.4%) were created during the years 2020 or 2021, and 62 (50.0%) accounts focused specifically on promoting the residency training program. Of the top six accounts with the most followers, post categories that received the most engagement were “Medical” and “Informal/Candid Group Photo” while those that received the least engagement were “Flyer/Holiday” and “Miscellaneous.” User engagement on posts as measured by likes and comments increased across multiple post categories after January 2020.

Conclusions : Social media presence of ophthalmology residency programs on Instagram increased substantially in 2020 and 2021. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic restricting in-person interactions, residency programs have used alternative platforms to reach applicants. Given the increasing use of such applications, social media will likely continue to become an important aspect of professional engagement in ophthalmology.

This abstract was presented at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO, May 1-4, 2022, and virtually.


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