2 - Qatar Critical Care Conference Proceedings
  • ISSN: 0253-8253
  • EISSN: 2227-0426


Social media has transformed the way we communicate with each other in the last decade or so. Out of 4 billion internet users, more than 3 billion are on social media. The medical community has also been transformed in terms of how we approach this vast medium of information. Microblogging sites like Twitter are beneficial in the way we share and disseminate professional knowledge. The critical care community has recently gained a lot of pace on the social media platform and are showing their presence in numbers.1 Although use of social media in critical care has great potential to benefit its users, it comes with its own challenges. This includes inaccurate information and slow adaptation. So the question arises: How can the critical care community make the best use of social media resources while ensuring the right knowledge is shared and practiced, and patient confidentiality is always respected?

Twitter has been used as a medium to not only spread information but also as a platform to teach critical care physicians and nurses. There are elements which affect the usability, efficiency, effectiveness, and widespread acceptance of Twitter as a teaching aid.2 FOAM, free open access medical education, is an online movement taking place across social media, blogs, and podcasts that is challenging traditional methods of medical education.3 FOAM provides a free platform for learners to not only receive information but also share it with other users. It gives the learner a chance to tailor their resources according to their individual needs. In addition, learners can reach out for assistance from the source much more easily as compared to traditional ways. But concern has been raised on how to best approach these resources as they do not undergo vigorous checks like peer reviewed articles. Check and balance of the validity of the provided information is often left up to the learners discretion. It can leave educational gaps at times and may not be applicable worldwide. Similarly, declaration of conflict of interest is not mandatory on these platforms hence it is often impossible to identify commercial bias.

It can be quite difficult to keep track of all the continuing professional development hours spent on social media but new applications are being developed, which can help. While on social media, all the norms and etiquette of healthcare professionalism should be maintained such as patient confidentiality and appropriate interprofessional relationships. There are evolving tools to evaluate the quality of various resources like SMi (Social Media Index)4 and HONcode (Health on the Net Code of Conduct).5

Social media, when used correctly, can be effective for self-directed learning, holding discussions with other critical care and healthcare professionals while reflecting on newly-acquired knowledge. Although the information must be used with due care, as the peer review is mostly inexistent in social media as people can post what they want, it is one of the most exciting and evolving areas in critical care practice.


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  • Article Type: Conference Abstract
Keyword(s): critical careFOAMsocial media and twitter
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