Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Is social media helpful for clinical excellence?

DEPM's Dr John Weiner has recently co-authored a study which looks at the effectiveness of social media in helping medical students and doctors achieve clinical excellence. According to the paper, social media use in medical education is increasingly adopted by doctors and doctors-in-training worldwide because it can build on the success of e-learning in ways that are more learner-generated, collaborative and engaging. Communication and interpersonal skills are at the heart of clinical excellence and social media facilitates multi-user interaction around expressive user-generated content.

However, the paper notes that online communication between doctors, students and patients represents a cause of concern for many clinical teachers. The worldwide adoption of social media by both doctors and patients challenges privacy and traditional doctor–patient boundaries. Although, there is also evidence that social media may foster the critical values of professionalism, humanism and empathy. Social media sites also connect doctors and patients, thus supporting the view of medicine as a public trust.

The study suggests that although the use of social media is not essential to the achievement of clinical excellence, it is an additional tool that clinical teachers may use to help their learners attain this goal.

Dr Weiner speaking about social media at the SPHPM Social Media for Researchers seminar

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