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It is time to improve the quality of medical information distributed to students across social media

Authors Zucker BE, Kontovounisios C

Received 28 October 2017

Accepted for publication 22 December 2017

Published 28 March 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 203—205

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S155398

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Robert Robinson

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anwarul Azim Majumder


Benjamin E Zucker,1 Christos Kontovounisios1,2

1Imperial College London, School of Medicine, London, UK; 2Department of Surgery and Cancer, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Imperial College London NHS Trust, London, UK

Abstract: The ubiquitous nature of social media has meant that its effects on fields outside of social communication have begun to be felt. The generation undergoing medical education are of the generation referred to as “digital natives”, and as such routinely incorporate social media into their education. Social media’s incorporation into medical education includes its use as a platform to distribute information to the public (“distributive education”) and as a platform to provide information to a specific audience (“push education”). These functions have proved beneficial in many regards, such as enabling constant access to the subject matter, other learners, and educators. However, the usefulness of using social media as part of medical education is limited by the vast quantities of poor quality information and the time required to find information of sufficient quality and relevance, a problem confounded by many student’s preoccupation with “efficient” learning. In this Perspective, the authors discuss whether social media has proved useful as a tool for medical education. The current growth in the use of social media as a tool for medical education seems to be principally supported by students’ desire for efficient learning rather than by the efficacy of social media as a resource for medical education. Therefore, improvements in the quality of information required to maximize the impact of social media as a tool for medical education are required. Suggested improvements include an increase in the amount of educational content distributed on social media produced by academic institutions, such as universities and journals.

Keywords: social media, medical education, push education, distributive education

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