My mission is to bring digital knowledge to medical students therefore preparing them for the world full of digital technologies that is coming. This is why I launched the world’s first university course focusing on social media and mobile health for medical students in 2008. Here are a few ways how I try to teach them:
- There is a real credit course at Semmelweis Medical School where I have courses in English and in Hungarian. I try to teach them digital literacy through spectacular and engaging presentations.
- They can answer questions about the topics covered in the lectures on Facebook to gather bonus points for the exam.
- There is an e-learning platform so then any medical student or professional worldwide can access the materials and take the tests for the certification.
- Students get credits for creating medical blogs, Twitter profiles or Wikipedia entries.
As you can see, following the “If you want to teach me, you first have to reach me” approach, I do everything I can to get the message across: every medical professional will be affected by online medical communication.
The Social MEDia Course
This is why I was very glad when Symplur contacted me about a potential collaboration. Let’s create a new hashtag #HCSMcourse referring to the widely used healthcare social media (#HCSM) hashtag. This new hashtag would focus on two goals:
- To collect all materials, concepts and ideas about teaching social media in medical education.
- To give students a chance to belong to a global community even after graduating from medical school.
As Twitter is my main communication channel these days, I cannot wait to exploit this idea in even more details.
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.