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The untapped potential of Instagram to facilitate rheumatology academia

  • Bhatia, Ansh1
  • Gaur, Prithvi Sanjeevkumar2
  • Zimba, Olena3
  • Chatterjee, Tulika4
  • Nikiphorou, Elena5
  • Gupta, Latika6
  • 1 Seth Gordhadhas Sunderdas Medical College and King Edwards Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra India
  • 2 Smt. Kashibai Navale Medical College and General Hospital,
  • 3 Danylo Halytsky Lviv National Medical University,
  • 4 University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria,
  • 5 King’s College London,
  • 6 Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences,
Published Article
Clinical Rheumatology
Publication Date
Oct 03, 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s10067-021-05947-6
PMID: 34601652
PMCID: PMC8487452
PubMed Central
  • Brief Report


Instagram allows for graphical and visual information exchange. This paper aims to explore the current landscape of rheumatology on Instagram and analyse the accounts available based on their objectives and level of engagement. The search term “#rheumatology” reveals 62 results, leaving 55 after careful exclusion. On grouping into “educational”, “broadcasting”, “support”, and a combination of all three, an analysis is carried out using the total number of posts, follower counts, number of caption characters (last 10 posts), likes per post (last 10 posts), archived stories, reels, IgTV (Instagram Television) videos, hashtags, and links in bio. The analysis reveals that 29 accounts (52.7%) disseminate educational content, 36 (65.4%) are run by organisations, and 22 (40.0%) are of an institute or clinic. Character counts (rho 0.44, p = 0.0006) and videos (likes for ten posts 149 vs. 54, p = 0.006) positively correlate with the number of likes, while hashtag use and post count have no statistical significance with likes. Reels and IgTV videos are infrequently used (18.18%, 3.6%). The rheumatology social media landscape is in its nascency and currently split into educational and broadcasting accounts with a significant overlap between the two. The positive correlation of character counts and videos and the negative correlation of hashtag use and post count with likes lay the case for quality content to improve engagement. Social media editors may ensure quality content for rheumatology education using Instagram. Key Points • The current landscape of Instagram use in rheumatology is limited and largely orientated towards educative content. • Likes on Instagram are positively correlated with caption character counts and videos. • Using currently underutilised tools like videos, engaging captions, and infographics may enhance the utility of Instagram in rheumatology education. Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10067-021-05947-6.

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