Are you interested in contributing to HLWIKI International? contact Evidence-based application of social media is an emerging informatics field (more research is needed)
To browse other articles on a range of HSL topics, see the A-Z index.
- 10 November 2014
See also Blogs | Emerging evidence in web 2.0 medical literature | Evidence-based health care | Health 2.0 | Medicine 2.0 | Using web 2.0 tools in health research at UBC
"...evaluating the adoption of (social media) technologies should be evidence-based..." — Giustini, Hooker, Grajales, 2011
The systematic study of social media in health and medicine is moving beyond its early formative stages towards a more evidence and research-based era. In 2014, there have been several systematic reviews of the literature (see Google scholar search) such as this recent review in Academic Medicine: Cheston CC et al. Social media use in medical education: a systematic review. Acad Med. 2013 Apr 24.. A group of German researchers also published a systematic review on the use of social media in medical education (Hollinderbäumer, 2013).
Judging from the rise of research into the use of social media in medicine, 2012-2014 were high-water mark years in assessing the usefulness and value of tools such as Twitter and Facebook. In addition, there are two conferences that examine health 2.0 and medicine 2.0 empirically and both have generated considerable evidence for practitioners, patients and policy-makers to consider in their application of social media. Given health librarians' roles in advising health professionals about social media, building the evidence base in social media is absolutely critical to legitimize the field. In this discussion, some of the questions that require exploration include:
- Which social media tools are most useful for health professionals?
- Are physicians different from nurses or pharmacists in their use of web 2.0 tools?
- If physicians want to explore web 2.0 tools, where should they first be pointed?
- Where is the evidence that social media will help a family physician in his information practices and research?
Web 2.0 research questions
"...social media has broadly affected medicine, perhaps most publicly by enabling increased communication with and among patients. Examples include emergency broadcasts during natural disasters, access to free (but often questionable) medical information online, and virtual patient communities..." — von Muhlen et al, 2012
- What research or evidence exists that web 2.0 (social media) tools are useful in medicine (or any field)?
- An evidence "base" is growing with a surge of interest in Facebook and Twitter (see below)
- What is the connection between web 2.0 and teaching? Interdisciplinary practice?
- Are physicians & health librarians just as likely to use anecdotal reports and intuition as to what is optimum in using web 2.0?
- What kinds of studies have been done thus far (i.e. surveys, case studies, etc.)?
- Are there any good studies of the use of social software in medicine? in the area of health librarianship?
- For physicians new to web 2.0, where is a good place to start (based on the cited evidence)?
- Do medical school programs expect students to have web 2.0 literacy and digital fluency?
- Is the effective use of social software mentioned in the context of medical informatics?
- What are differences between med students who are digital natives and those who can be described as digital immigrants?
- In terms of belonging to social groups, and social interaction, does web 2.0 have potential health benefits for users?
Sarah Stewart on EBM 2.0?
As a health professional I welcome evidence-based practice. It is vital that my practice is based on the latest up to date information so that the care I provide ...is the best, based on what we currently know. However, I feel it is vital we integrate the principles of Web 2.0 into our practice so that evidence-based information is freely available to all, health practitioners and consumers. That we work together to share and collaborate, and find alternative ways of communicating and disseminating information to the traditional journals that are locked up, and only available to those who can afford to pay to read them. How do you think we can use online tools such as blogs and wikis to disseminate evidence based information? What are the problems with utilising information in practice that is not published in conventional medical, peer-reviewed journals? How do we overcome fears about credibility? — EBM vs 2.0
Concerns expressed about web 2.0 in biomedicine
- Physicians do not have time to learn about (or use) web 2.0
- Social networking compromises patient safety, patient confidentiality and is intrusive
- Social networks rely on network effects; it takes time to build a social network (no members means no network)
- Scientists are not social when they are working; they are looking for solutions not people
- Social tools must help to solve existing (and pressing) problems; they must fit existing workflows
- Must outperform existing tools and services should have 100% reliability
- Unless social networks are useful, don't expect users to come to a wasteland; they won’t
- Post-docs need to communicate with each other face-to-face not online
- We are too dependent on mobile devices such as iPhone; go to the patient!
An early definition (Giustini, 2010)
- "...evidence-based web 2.0 (EBW2) is the integration of the best available evidence of social software usage in promoting effective time and information management skills in the digital age. In addition to allocating time for experimentation, heuristics and 'play', physicians, librarians and information specialists will need to systematically evaluate EBW2 and build a better evidence-base given the future applications of tools."
- Bik HM, Goldstein MC. An introduction to social media for scientists. PLos Biology. 2012;11(4):e1001535.
- Bleicher P. Health 2.0: do it yourself doctoring. Appl Clin Trials. 2008;17(10):38–42.
- Bos L, Marsh A, Carroll D. Patient 2.0 empowerment. International Conference on Semantic Web & Web Services, SWWS08.
- Bosslet GT, Torke AM, Hickman SE, Terry CL, Helft PR. The patient-doctor relationship and online social networks: results of a national survey. J Gen Intern Med. 2011 Oct;26(10):1168-74.
- Boulos MNK, Maramba I, Wheeler S. Wikis, blogs and podcasts: a new generation of web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education. BMC Med Ed. 2006;6:41.
- Cartwright N, Hardie J. Evidence-based policy: a practical guide to doing it better. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
- Cheston CC, Flickinger TE, Chisolm MS. Social media use in medical education: a systematic review. Acad Med. 2013 Apr 24.
- Chou WY, Prestin A, Lyons C, Wen KY. Web 2.0 for health promotion: reviewing the current evidence. Am J Public Health. 2012 Nov 15.
- Chretien KC, Greysen SR, Chretien JP, Kind T. Online posting of unprofessional content by medical students. JAMA. 2009;302(12):1309-15.
- Conn J. Health 2.0: the next generation of Web enterprises. Modern Healthcare. 2007;11 December.
- Eytan E. My definition of Health 2.0: the transition to personal, participatory health care.
- Eysenbach G. Medicine 2.0: social networking, collaboration, participation, apomediation, and openness. J Med Internet Res. 2008;10(3):e22.
- Gill HK, Gill N, Young SD. Online technologies for health information and education: a literature review. J Cons Health Internet. 2013;17(2): 139-150.
- Gray K, Annabell L, Kennedy G. Medical students’ use of Facebook to support learning: Insights from four case studies. Med Teach. 2010;32:971-976.
- Grindrod K, Forgione A, Tsuyuki RT, Gavura S, Giustini D. Pharmacy 2.0: a scoping review of social media use in pharmacy. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2013 Jun 27.
- Hamm MP, Chisholm A, Shulhan J, Milne A, Scott SD, Given LM, Hartling L. Social media use among patients and caregivers: a scoping review. BMJ Open. 2013 May 9;3(5).
- Hawn C. Take two aspirin and tweet me in the morning: how Twitter, Facebook, and other social media are reshaping health care. Health Aff. 2009;28(2):361–8.
- Hollinderbäumer A, et al. How has social media and Web 2.0 been integrated into medical education? A systematical literature review. GMS Z Med Ausbild. 2013;30(1):Doc14.
- Landman MP, Shelton J, Kauffmann RM, Dattilo JB. Guidelines for maintaining a professional compass in the era of social networking. J Surg Educ. 2010;67(6):381-6.
- MacDonald J, Sohn S, Ellis P. Privacy, professionalism and Facebook: a dilemma for young doctors. Med Ed. 2010;44:805–813.
- Moat KA, Lavis JN. 10 best resources for ... evidence-informed health policymaking. Health Policy Plan. 2012 Jun 20.
- Moorhead SA, Hazlett DE, Harrison L, Carroll JK, Irwin A, Hoving C. A new dimension of health care: systematic review of the uses, benefits, and limitations of social media for health communication. J Med Internet Res. 2013 Apr 23;15(4):e85.
- Moubarak G, Guiot A, Benhamou Y. Facebook activity of residents and fellows and its impact on the doctor-patient relationship. J Med Ethics. 2011;37(2):101-4.
- Sarasohn Kahn J. The wisdom of patients - social media in health care. THINK Health for California Healthcare Foundation, 2008.
- Timimi FK. Medicine, morality and health care social media. BMC Med. 2012 Aug 2;10(1):83.
- Varga-Atkins T. Developing professionalism through the use of wikis: a study with first-year undergraduate medical students. Med Teach. 2010;32(10):824-826.
- Van De Belt TH, Engelen LJ, Berben SA, Schoonhoven L. Definition of health 2.0 and medicine 2.0: a systematic review. J Med Internet Res. 2010;12(2):e18.
- von Muhlen M, Ohno-Machado L. Reviewing social media use by clinicians. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2012 Sep 1;19(5):777–81.