The ‘Meaningful Use’ of Social Media by Physicians for Learning

Brian Mcgowan* Bryan Vartabedian*
Robert Miller* Molly Wasko*
Brian Mcgowan*, Pfizer, Collegeville, United States
Bryan Vartabedian*, Baylor College of Medicine, Waco, United States
Robert Miller*, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, United States
Molly Wasko*, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business, Birmingham, United States

Track: Research
Presentation Topic: Web 2.0-based medical education and learning
Presentation Type: Oral presentation
Submission Type: Panel Presentation

Building: LKSC Conference Center Stanford
Room: Paul Berg Auditorium
Date: 2011-09-17 01:30 PM – 02:30 PM
Last modified: 2011-08-15

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The evidence base supporting medical practice is growing at an exponential rate, and the ability for one physician to stay abreast of this evidence base has long since been surpassed. Physicians in the primary care field and physicians in data-intensive and rapidly-changing specialties such as oncology bear a particularly heavy burden in trying to manage this avalanche of information. Moreover, it is expected that newer forms of medically relevant information (comparative effectiveness research, patient reported outcomes, personalized genomic and proteomic analyses, etc.) will need to be seamlessly integrated into medical practice. As a result, within the next 5 year the evolution of medicine will face an alarming bottleneck when the systems to support the publication, dissemination, uptake, and integration of new information will likely fail.
Social learning theory has long been explored in the professions of medicine and education. In the past these explorations focused on simple connection derived from training pedigree, geography, shared memberships in medical societies or associations. However, with the emergence of social media the concepts of social learning can encompass a myriad of non-traditional connections and uses. It is the belief of these authors that physicians may ‘use’ social media in three separate ways. First, social media can be used as a means of medical practice – providing direct patient care. Second, physicians can use social media as a means of public health communication – providing a credible opinion and review of breaking medical news and reports for the public. Third, physicians can use social media as means of supporting their own continuing professional development – providing a learning and decision-making resource based on the collective knowledge of their own ‘network’. For our initial research we have chosen to explore this third definition of ‘meaningful use’.
To date, there have been no definitive data sets describing the meaningful use of social media by physicians, and therefore no definitive data describing medical professional use of social media for the purpose of professional development. This is likely due to the novelty of the available technologies as well as a lack of clear definitions of what constitutes ‘use’ and/or ‘social media.”. In the research presented herein we report for the first time on the meaningful adoption of social media as a professional learning resource.
To embrace emerging models of open access and open peer review authors/panelists have embraced a non-traditional data dissemination and publication plan: beyond a traditional presentation of two primary data findings, during this session we will be making the raw data, methodologies, and research instrument publicly available to all participants and more broadly through other web-based channels. It is our hope that this novel publication and presentation model will serve as a case study of how the wisdom and flexibility of the community can drive a more rapid integration of new research into the established knowledge-base and accelerate new research and entrepreneurial activities.

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