Social Media and Medical Education: A Brave New World


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discussion of the uses of social media for medical education, prepared as part of the STFM Medical Student Education Conference 2013

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Social Media and Medical Education: A Brave New World

  1. 1. Social Media and Medical Education: A Brave New World Mark Ryan, MD Aaron Michelfelder, MD
  2. 2. Who Are We? • Mark Ryan, MD • Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Family Medicine • Aaron Michelfelder, MD, • Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine
  3. 3. Goals • To introduce attendees to social media tools, and to describe effective and productive uses of social media tools • To demonstrate how social media can enhance medical education and active learning
  4. 4. Objectives • Identify 3 social media tools that will benefit medical education • Describe examples of how social media tools can be used to enhance medical education • Describe cautions and limits to using social media for medical education
  5. 5. • During this talk: • Looking down at your smartphones is a compliment • The clacking of phone and computer keyboards is the same as applause
  6. 6. Introduction • We will provide examples of how social media can be used to enhance medical student education (#MedEd) – not to discuss social media itself in detail • There is a session on Saturday at 1 pm (HT4) that will provide more detail on social media itself
  7. 7. What is Social Media? • Defined by Merriam-Webster online as: • “forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)”
  8. 8. What is Social Media • Social Media (SoMe) incorporates a set of online tools and websites that allow users to share ideas and user-generated content while engaging with individuals and networks without regard to distance or location
  9. 9. What is Social Media?
  10. 10. Why Does Social Media Matter? • ePatients • Health 2.0 • Trainee use of social media, and their online presence
  11. 11. Social Media Tools • Facebook • Twitter • Blogs • YouTube • Audio podcasts
  12. 12. Facebook • Largest social network: “where the eyes are” • Allows individual and organizational accounts • Posted material can be public or private • Groups with specific areas of interest can be formed and can be made public or private.
  13. 13. Facebook • Share teaching ideas, curriculum development, and instructional approaches • “Social Media in Medical Education” Facebook Group • Virtual journal club? • Post and share articles, and allow for asynchronous discussion • Virtual office hours? • Discuss and clarify class material
  14. 14. Twitter • Very short (140-character) messages • Accounts can be public or private • Users identified by “handle”: e.g. @RichmondDoc • Posts (“tweets”) are shared among account “followers”, and can be shared (“re-tweeted”, or “RT”) with other users
  15. 15. Twitter • Starting a Twitter message with a username targets that message to that user, but is publicly visible • Direct messages (“DM”) between users are not visible publicly • Hashtags (the # symbol, followed by letters and numbers) help categorize Tweets (e.g. #MSE13)
  16. 16. Twitter Hashtags • Hashtags are searchable within Twitter, and allow users to follow specific topics (e.g. #MSE13 includes discussion about this meeting) • Hashtags allow for shared, live discussion on these topics (e.g. TweetChat) • Hashtags are catalogued at the Healthcare Hashtag Project
  17. 17. Twitter Uses • Cataloging information: #PM101 and @westr • Bob shares and saves information on personalized medicine by RT’ing with the #PM101 tag. • “Bottom line of the #pm101 hashtag: it serves as a "filing cabinet" for course students, meded students who follow me, and any others interested in information I lump into the "personalized medicine" category.” – Robert West
  18. 18. Twitter Uses • Virtual journal clubs and live discussion: #TwitJC • Moderator @silv24 chooses articles and moderates the discussion, and uses the blog to plan and archive discussion points. The planned sessions use the #TwitJC tag • “The thing I love most about the journal club is the wide variety of participants, doctors of all grades and specialities discuss papers with medical students, paramedics, nurses and even non-medics who are interested in the topic. That never fails to amaze me and I love the feedback from people who say they love being able to discuss a paper with specialists.” – Natalie Silvey • Sometimes, the authors join the discussion: 07/study-author-joins-twitjc-discussion.html
  19. 19. Twitter Uses • Can use Twitter in a Power Point Talk • Audience Can Tweet Questions • Presenter Can “Auto Tweet” During Talk From Various Slides • Makes Talk Very Interactive twitter-tools-to-auto-tweet-instantly-view- feedback/
  20. 20. Twitter Uses • Experiencing breadth of connections and interactions--patient stories, learning from other professionals: @daniellenjones • “How do we ensure we are the best providers for our patients when we may have absolutely no clue how they are feeling? I truly believe that, as medical students, we have a very important role on the healthcare team, but when our experiences are limited what do we base our actions off of? I believe Social Media has a role to play here.” – Danielle Jones • “So, yes – I follow patients on Twitter. Not my patients, but patients who share their stories. I follow patients who explain how their doctors have affected their mental and physical health – how their physicians have failed them or fought for them and how it made them feel. I follow patients to understand…to avoid complacency…to maintain compassion. I learn from these people on a curve much different than that of traditional medical training, because through them I learn to be acutely aware that my actions – both positive and negative – are not quickly forgotten. I am sharply conscious that an ounce of honest compassion can significantly improve someone’s mental well-being…and that a moment of carelessness can destroy it. And that, my friends, is not something that can be learned from a textbook.” – Danielle Jones
  21. 21. Twitter Uses • Personal connections, and sharing information and support: Brittany Chan and #TwitterStudying • “Twitter transformed from a major distraction to a valuable study tool. I began to tweet questions to fellow med students about concepts I didn’t understand, and they responded. Other students would tweet their confusions, and I’d attempt to explain the mechanism of a drug or the purpose of the alanine cycle. Many times, several others would chime in to augment our collective understanding or ask additional questions. We would tweet things like, "Causes of polycythemia... GO!" followed by hashtags such as #TwitterStudying and #TweetPimping. Fellow Step 1 studiers were often the ones participating in these conversations, but sometimes third- and fourth-year students and even physicians would contribute their knowledge. With no study partners in my local area, I found that these discussions helped me to comprehend difficult concepts, and were hopefully just as beneficial to other students.” – Brittany Chan
  22. 22. Twitter Uses • @GuerillaMedEd: “Learning doesn't need to happen in the classroom.” • Virtual case discussions: presentation, H&P, labs, discussion of DDx, review of management, and discussion of key learning points: not-feeding
  23. 23. Blogs • The most traditional of social media tools • Online publications/diaries, whose content varies on the author’s interests • Allow for longer, more detailed discussions, and can include embedded pictures, videos, etc • Dialogue/discussion via comments
  24. 24. Blogs • Asynchronous teaching: @FarrisTimimi
  25. 25. Blogs • Didactic review and teaching cases: • @hcwetherell uses comments and #ECGClass on Twitter to promote discussion
  26. 26. Blogs • Teaching and study guides: A good example is the student-developed and – narrated Anatomy Zone • In this case, the website collects YouTube videos that can be reviewed at any time
  27. 27. YouTube • Users can record videos on any topic and upload them for viewing at any time • These videos can be collected under a “channel” and could range from patient education information to medical education topics • Can use to record and publish short video blogs, lectures or lessons, etc • YouTube is part of Google = easily searchable
  28. 28. YouTube
  29. 29. Audio Podcasts • Users can record radio shows and podcasts for listeners. • Allows for live, interactive discussions during the recording. • Material can be available live, or recorded and listened to on-demand.
  30. 30. Audio Podcasts
  31. 31. Social Media and Core Competencies • Some family medicine core competencies could be addressed via social media: medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism and systems-based practice
  32. 32. Social Media and Core Competencies • Patient care: NO. (Not yet. Ever?) • Medical knowledge: Increased access to new sources of information; opportunities to discuss information with multiple contacts • Practice-based learning and improvement: probably not yet
  33. 33. Social Media and Core Competencies • Interpersonal and communication skills: as social media becomes more widely used, we need to teach learners these skills • Professionalism: Accountability to society and the profession, and sensitivity to diverse populations • Systems-based practice: Enhanced awareness of team-based care and the roles of other professionals and of patients
  34. 34. Why Else Should We Care? • We must teach medical students about the potential risks of using social media. In 2009, JAMA reported that “60% of U.S. medical schools surveyed reported incidents of students posting unprofessional content online.”
  35. 35. Social Media and Professional Development • Interactions and discussions via social media can develop connections and share ideas that lead to additional opportunities including collaborations, media contacts, and conference presentations • “From Twitter to Tenure”
  36. 36. Cautions • Privacy. Remember what is visible by the public. • Cannot practice medicine in this setting. • Not reimbursed. • No standards of use or official“best practices”. The AMA guidelines are not much help, and do not encourage use. There is no definitive guide to best practices. • Role is still developing, meaning that best practices, etc. are still unclear.
  37. 37. In Summary:
  38. 38. • Many thanks to for ideas, discussion and troublemaking: @RyanMadanickMD, @TwitJournalClub and @silv24, @westr, @daniellenjones, @amcunningham, Brittany Chan, @FarrisTimimi,