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From Blogging to Tweeting to Facebook

From Blogging to Tweeting to Facebook

There is nothing like a millenary milestone in social media to bring about reflection on just what purpose your hundreds of 140-character tweets have served. After reaching 1,000 followers on Twitter a few weeks ago, I got to thinking about how we use social media in the health care field, and why it is so pertinent today.

In Anne Ellis’ (Allergy & Immunology, Department of Medicine) Medical Grand Rounds talk1, she zeroed in on this topic. Anne points out that the use of social media in health care has changed the face of research and the way that clinicians interact with patients. Where researchers once worked in relative isolation, Anne pointed out the ease with which a researcher can find collaborators or network with peers through the various social media platforms. Knowledge translation is another benefit. Research results can be shared by the researcher, who is then directly accessible for questions and clarification. As a result, a conversation is created, instead of the traditional one-way medium of print. The researcher in turn has the ability to share their successes and see what resonates with the public.

On the patient care side, we are now seeing clinicians and hospitals alike opening the doors of communication with patients. This can form a perpetual cycle of education where both groups inform one another and provide feedback. Anne points out that there are already proven benefits: patients often gain increased understanding of their conditions and there are lowered rates of ER visits and hospitalization.1

Social media is also a powerful tool on a global health care level. Early in the Ebola outbreak, epidemiologists analyzed social media activity to make predictions about the geography of future outbreaks. “They’re not only gathering data from diseased neighborhoods and hospitals. They’re also using sources like flight data, Twitter mentions, and cellphone location services to track the disease from afar. Researchers, in short, are sifting through the detritus of mobile lives to map the spread of an unprecedented outbreak.”2

My own social media portfolio includes a twitter account (@DeanOnCampus), a blog, and as of this week, a facebook page. Each allows me to get messages out while offering varying degrees of visibility, depth and frequency. What these channels have in common, however, is their ability to spark conversation and encourage interaction.

Thanks to social media, I engage with a diversity of people, ranging from current students to alumni who graduated in the 1950s; from residents of Kingston to colleagues across the globe. And what does this broad audience want to hear? What I have seen so far is that it is our stories – challenges and successes in research, patient care, education – that keep our audience engaged, sharing, and coming back for more.

To those of you who haven’t already, I invite you to “like” me on facebook as another means to stay in touch and hear about what’s happening in the Faculty of Health Sciences. And to our faculty members and students: Content is King3. You are the source of our stories, and I encourage you to share your successes, big or small, with me and our Communications Coordinator, Jen Valberg, so that we can continue to publicize the great things happening in our faculty.

If you have any comments about social media in health care, respond to the blog, drop by the Macklem House (my door is always open), or better yet, send me a tweet or comment on facebook!

 

Richard

 

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N0GIFkCOe8
  1. http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/09/04/the_ebola_outbreak_is_out_of_control_can_it_be_tracked_remotely
  1. https://gigaom.com/2012/11/16/content-is-king-again-why-bill-gates-may-be-right-after-all/

Stephen Archer

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 09:34

Thanks for the thoughtful blog. Many faculty and almost all hose staff are using these tools (indeed they rely on them). There is an IT backend that is often forgotten. We need to help encourage the hospitals to make the investments to support the use of the tools throughout all of our hospitals, as well as within the University. For example without a KGH investment in improved wireless networks we could not have launched our iPAD program (Thanks Troy Jones!).

More importantly,its great to have a surgeon following Medical Grand Rounds!

Stephen Archer

Stephen,

Surgeons like coming (virtually) to medical ground rounds. I agree, an augmented IT infrastructure is a critical success factor in moving our communications agenda forward.

Richard

reznickr

Eve Purdy (@purdy_eve)

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 09:35

In reply to by student

Couldn’t agree with you more Dr. Archer. I had better access to internet and cell service in Tanzania then I do in KGH/HDH. It’s more than just a nuisance it’s a patient safety issue.

Eve

Eve Purdy (@purdy_eve)

Gerhard Dashi

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 09:36

Thank you for the post, Dr. Reznick.

I would also add that social media is just as useful (if not more) for medical students. I have used to it explore medical fields I am interested in by following researchers and program directors, reading their posts, and contacting them directly, both inside and outside of Kingston. I find they are much more receptive to answering short messages, especially in response to their posts, than long emails, which often go straight to their Junk folder.

The key is professionalism. This topic, as well as the other benefits and risks of social media in both medical education and medicine were discussed in length yesterday at the Social Media (#SoMe) summit in Toronto. I was easily able to follow the discussions and contribute from Kingston thanks to Twitter (during class break, of course).

If used properly, social media can be a great medium for doctors, patients, and students!

Gerhard Dashi

Hi Gerhard,

I agree – social media connections can be leveraged to the benefit of students in opening many “doors” that would have been closed before this new era. I am glad to hear that you are taking advantage of these opportunities.
Thanks for your thoughtful comment,

Richard

reznickr

Eve Purdy (@purdy_eve)

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 09:36

Dr. Reznick,

Thanks for this article and reflection on your 1000 followers. I wonder who they are? It would be interesting to define your followership! There are some interesting analytics tools to do so.

I just wanted to point out that in addition to the impact on sharing research, patient education and “networking” there is a very real impact of social media on medical education that is only beginning to be defined. In fact, the most used hashtag by doctors on twitter is #meded which groups conversations on medical education. On Wednesday, the first Summit on Social Media in Medical Education was held in Toronto. This working meeting evaluated everything from pedagogy to professionalism. It was a collection of an inspiring group of educators who are absolutely committed to improving patient outcomes by educating students and each other in the best possible ways. I have to point out that Queen’s had a serious presence at this conference, including Dr. Flynn who was on the organizing committee and provided a strong voice that might help bridge the gap between traditional educational theories and the the “wildfire” that is open access education. Many in our community may not know that in the medical education world, Queen’s (#Qmed) is recognized internationally as a model of engaged educators and students that are using social media platforms well. If you aren’t online, you might not know this.

This begs the question, how are we as an institution going to recognize physicians who are making a remarkable difference in education through their digital online presence, not just influencing learners at Queen’s but around the world. This is a difficult question because the metrics that define scholarship in other domains don’t necessarily apply as cleanly. The community of online educators are working to develop and define what online contribution looks like in a measurable way- though this goes against much of what the relaxed, collaborative, intrinsically motivated community stands for. If as an institution we value the contributions to education made online I challenge Queen’s to be a leader in finding innovative ways to recognize and promote digital scholarship. Social media is changing education, let’s be at the forefront.

Eve

Eve Purdy (@purdy_eve)

Dear Eve,

What a thoughtful and interesting comment. You pose a very important question. How are we going to measure scholarship that’s being deployed through social media, and how will it be recognized in the very traditional processes that universities use for promotion and tenure. It’s a real challenge. I am very keen on learning more about Queen’s digital presence and would encourage you, me Lelsie and other to sit down and discuss these issues in earnest.

Richard

reznickr

Eve Purdy (@purdy_eve)

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 09:37

In reply to by student

The question that I am actually asking isn’t how should this fit in to traditional processes but it’s actually should those very traditional processes be re-evaluated and adapted to the evolving educational environment that we exist in. Either way, I would be happy to discuss more, though I am certainly not expert in the area. We’ll compile some thoughts and get in touch to set up a meeting.

Eve

Eve Purdy (@purdy_eve)

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