New Horizons for Stroke Medicine: Understanding the Value of Social Media
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Social media (SM) has provided individuals and organizations with an openly accessible platform encouraging participation and engagement in different forms of media (blogs, photos, infographics, and videos). In the past decade, there has been an exponential increase in platforms supporting user-driven content all encouraging differing degrees of SM interaction. Despite the initial SM revolution being based on social interaction, increasingly medical professionals are harboring such streams of communication to further medical knowledge and develop professional networks. An example of a SM platform is Twitter, a well-established microblogging tool,1 which supports communities2 of medical professionals interacting regularly. Importantly, data support an increasing coverage of biomedical literature on Twitter (≈10% of all published literature).3 Stroke medicine is constantly evolving to adapt to new technologies, which have supported new therapies and new diagnostic tools. However, little is known about the benefit of new technologies to our ways of communicating. In this article, we discuss how stroke trainees in particular could benefit from using SM to communicate and improve their educational, professional, and academic development. Furthermore, we provide for the first time Twitter analytic data from an international stroke trainee-based meeting to demonstrate real-world value to trainees and importantly organizations.
Benefits to Patients
In the past decade, several medical and surgical specialties have developed international SM platforms to disseminate a variety of professional and patient relevant outputs. These include online journal clubs, anonymized cases, and patient-friendly information. Interestingly, patients seem to value online health communities in which both physicians and patients participate. The benefits are colocated information from both medical experts and experiential experts. In an online 95 stroke patient community, patients’ reasons for use of such a platform included medical activities (gathering information about disease or being informed about scientific research …