David F. Carr at InformationWeek asked me for an interview and he had great questions about my social media activities as a doctor, the book I wrote, my new position as a medical futurist and the course I teach at the medical school and online.
Here is the interview, Medicine Must Get Social, and an excerpt:
That’s what Bertalan Mesko aims to do with The Social MEDia Course, a series of online tutorials, as well as his book Social Media in Clinical Practice, published in August. As he argues in the book, “The only way to fight against pseudoscience and medical quackery is to take control of publishing medical information on the Web.” Doctors need to be on social media to develop and protect their own reputations, as well as to understand the resources available and how they can be used or misused, he says. His book catalogs many types of social media and gives specific advice, such as a recommendation to turn down patient “friend” requests on Facebook unless that social profile is used solely for professional rather than personal interaction.
I’m always very excited when the new semester of the Social Media in Medicine university course launches at Semmelweis University. I’ll today introduce medical students to the world of social media by showing them a lot of practical examples; as well as to the world full of technological advances they will face when they leave medical school.
10 weeks, 16 extended topics, two surveys, one exam, and a lot of Facebook challenges.
This course is still unique worldwide and I created a digital format as well so not only medical students at Semmelweis University can acquire such digital skills.
Here is the timeline:
September 17. Introduction to social media and medicine
September 24. Medical search engines and the Google story
October 1. Information pollution and reforming modern education
October 8. The mysteries of medical blogging
October 15. Crowdsourcing on Twitter from a doctor’s perspective
October 29. Medical communities, Youtube and medical mobile apps
November 5. The era of e-patients and managing a medical practice online
November 12. Wikipedia: the power of communities
November 19. Virtual worlds; Written test exam
November 26. The future of medicine and the Internet, Results of the surveys
Since the launch of Google Glass, I’ve been closely following updates and developments related to healthcare and medicine. It seems clinicians worldwide can leverage its potentials but there is a long way to go to reach wide clinical adoption. A few concepts have to be taken into consideration:
- Healthcare institutions should be open to experimenting with it (and determine privacy and legal issues). Test drives such as the one in Hartford Hospital are needed.
- Medical professionals should deal with patient privacy and put evidence behind using it in practice.
- Patients should be clearly informed if Glass is used in their care.
- Moreover, start-ups focusing on Google Glass and medicine should be able to join accelerators and incubators. Fortunately, this step has been taken as Palomar Health and Qualcomm Life teamed up to build an incubator for developers called Glassomics.
- All the stakeholders should watch the sporadic examples (see the links in this post).
Here are 3 examples how Google Glass could be used in medicine and healtchare:
1) It could be used in emergency situations. While you are performing CPR, it could call the ambulance to your GPS location.
2) The Radboud REshape & Innovation Center launched a Flickr group so they can share the photos they take while experimenting with Glass in the OR.
3) Stanford medical doctor, Abraham Verghese, started using it because he can now make videos about patient examination for his medical students.
Glass has many a potential use in education, of course, although there’s going to be a number of concerns about its privacy implications when it comes to sensitive information like a real-world patient’s medical data.
What happens when a university lecturer published a mobile application with questions-answers about different medical specialties and decides to include some of those public questions in the test of a university examination? Well, trouble.
Students from Kings College London who recently sat through an Obstetrics & Gynaecology exam were surprised to note that a large proportion of the questions were identical to those found in an OB/GYN medical question app.
The author of the £1.49 app is a lecturer at the University who wrote some of the questions on the exam paper using information from the medical app that had been published.
This is why I don’t think it’s enough to teach medical students about the meaningful use of social media and digital technologies, but medical professionals and lecturers as well.
Today, I launch a new and quite huge project as I start doing workshops in person with medical professionals who signed up for learning tricks about the digital world. GlaxoSmithKline sponsored the series in which I will do about 15 workshops to about 300-400 physicians.
We start with the definition of social media, then online search, being up-to-date, the world of e-patients and finally how to assess the quality of medical websites and smartphone applications. I’m very excited!
My job is to introduce them to the digital world in an evidence-based and practical manner.
I’ll report about the process later.
The 10th semester of my Social Media in Medicine university course (Semmelweis Medical School) is over and I thought I would publish a few take-home messages.
- It’s equally challenging to persuade young medical students to use social media for professional purposes as to teach older physicians about the use of technology.
- “If you want to teach me, you first have to reach me.” That is my motto, therefore as all the students this semester were on Facebook, I published challenge questions for bonus points every day on the Facebook page of the course. Students loved that and the winner didn’t have to take the exam.
- I bring them the newest medical technologies such as AliveCor.
- The course will be launched again in English and Hungarian this September.
- We are working on another course, Disruptive Technologies in Medicine! Details soon!
- This is still the world’s only comprehensive university course about social media.
- 6 students also received the certification for finishing the online course.
- A manuscript presenting the results of the surveys students filled in was submitted to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
As I will do a Master Class at Medicine X about teaching social media in health sciences, the Scope blog of Stanford Medicine asked me to do an interview about my course in which I help medical students become better at digital literacy. An excerpt:
The most important thing here is a quote I’ve been using for years: “If you want to teach me, you first have to reach me.” Therefore I love going to the platforms that my students are already using. This semester it was Facebook, and I managed to teach them and test their knowledge on that platform. It was a real win-win situation.
All medical educators should design a new approach in transmitting the knowledge to students by analyzing what they do online. We do the same thing in the offline world by coming up with new textbooks and creating engaging presentations - why would we not do that online as well?
When I wanted to include digital literacy in the medical curriculum, I worked really hard to get a chance for a pilot at a medical school with over 240 years of history. Now it has been running for 5 years. I teach medical students about the use of social media and how to deal with e-patients. Therefore when I came across and read the book, Let Patients Help, by E-Patient Dave, I knew this is what I was looking for.
I think we should make this book a must-read book in every medical school. To fulfill this huge mission, we need people working at medical schools who can work their way to the top and add it to the curriculum school by school.
If you work at a medical school or know someone who could help us, please let me know!
It’s an honor to be invited to do a master class at the upcoming Medicine X conference taking place at Stanford University. I will conduct a 90-minute Master Class on teaching social media in the health sciences. The final curriculum will be shaped by the learners themselves through their course applications, but his master class tentatively includes:
- Strategies to create a curriculum for teaching students and medical professionals about disruptive technologies and social media.
- Introducing online learning platforms as part of an official course curriculum.
- Determining which online platform is most used by students and creating a parallel online curriculum.
- Incorporating interactive content to leverage the power of social media in the classroom.
See you there!
I’ve been teaching medical students about the meaningful use of health IT, social media and other disruptive technologies for 5 years. I created a digital format of the course therefore any medical student or medical professional in the world can access the materials and finish the course.
There are 3 additional projects going on right now:
- My students fight for bonus points on the Facebook page of the course. I post challenges every single day during the semester and I will also measure the effectiveness of this approach with the surveys students will fill in soon, but I can tell you now it’s going just great with over a hundred students participating and competing with their knowledge. This out-of-the-curriculum experience helps them a lot in learning to use the Internet more efficiently. I knew I had to find them with such an approach where they are online and based on the first week survey, 100% of them are on Facebook.
- As e-patients lead the movement of including social media in the practice of medicine, we need to listen to them. I already said that every medical student in the world must read the book “Let Patients Help” from E-patient Dave and I’m taking the first step when I include this book in this semester’s recommended reading list, plus also including questions about the book in the final written exam. I’m working on persuading Semmelweis University (where I teach my course) to endorse it first and make it a must-read book for every medical student.
- We need to demonstrate disruptive technologies to students, not just talking about them. When I asked Dr. David Albert that I would love to show AliveCor to the students live, he kindly made it happen and I have my own AliveCor now. This April, I will show students how to do an ECG with an iPhone. This is the first step and I’m looking for other innovators and vendors to let me present their technologies to students. The only way to have tech-savvy physicians in the healthcare system is to train them like that.