Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube. Long gone are the days of solely relying on e-mail for online communication, or the inescapability of physically attending networking events to widen your professional and social networks.
Social media has revolutionised the way we create and share information with one another. These dynamic and interactive forms of online communication are not just popular for the public, but also impact the work of healthcare professionals, particularly radiologists.
Lets look at some of the main platforms now:
LinkedIn is a professional online networking service. It enables users to create CV-like profiles that showcase qualifications, skills and achievements, search for members with expertise in many occupational fields, and create networks and groups that encourage discussion and collaboration among fellow professionals.
Radiologists can use this social media platform to access established Radiology groups or networks (e.g. ‘Radiology Professionals, ‘Radiology Technologists’ or ‘American College of Radiology’), or even create their own and connect with fellow radiologists to discuss and gain insight into current issues in the field of Radiology, as well as appreciate the diverse practices of radiologists across the globe.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform out there. It can be accessed via the app on Android or iOS, or even just online on your computer. Unlike LinkedIn, it provides a more flexible, informal mode to networking. It allows members to create profiles, add their friends, and find and share interesting news and content through their feed, friend’s feeds, by joining groups and ‘liking’ pages.
In the case of radiology, Facebook enables radiologists and those interested in the profession (e.g. medical students) to ‘like’ pages such as myESR, Radiopaedia and RadiologySigns. These pages share radiology news and cases, which enable radiologists to keep up to date with latest research and procedures. These pages also help advertise and create events nationally and globally, encouraging radiologists, medical students and other healthcare professionals to come together, and exchange professional debates and research.
Figure1 is an application available free on Android and iOS, which enables users to share and discuss confidential medical and surgical cases across multiple medical and anatomical categories.
This app is quick, easily accessible and helps radiologists, as well as other medical professionals, to get advice from peers across the world about diagnoses and treatment of various diseases and conditions. Many users share interesting scans and images that can help educate radiologists on upcoming and novel ways to interpreting imaging, and managing patients. Users can also receive feedback on their shared cases, interpretations and treatment approaches through comments.
Download Figure 1 on iOS or Android here:
Another very popular platform, YouTube allows users to watch and subscribe to numerous video channels related to their interests. Users can also create their own videos, podcasts and vlogs on various subject matters and share them with fellow subscribers.
For the purpose of radiology, radiologists can access YouTube channels that highlight radiology news, events and research. Radiologists can also follow educational channels that demonstrate novel and useful approaches to image interpretation, understanding anatomy and radiological procedures.
ResearchGate is a simple, free, user-friendly interface to showcase research. It provides radiologists and other professionals / academics with a platform to connect and collaborate with fellow colleagues, read and discuss publications, create exposure for one’s research, get stats and feedback for research.
Instagram is a photo and video sharing app for iOS or Android. Radiologists can use this to create profiles or follow profiles that share pictures related to imaging, anonymised or learning-based cases and radiology news.
Download Instagram on iOS or Android here:
Blogs (e.g. WordPress, Tumblr)
Blogs (such as this one!) enable radiologists to follow and keep up with current news in their field, share opinions on different radiology topics, as well as learn about what’s happening in this speciality across various parts of the globe.
Consists of various radiology-related profiles to follow and micro-blog about.
Sign up to Twitter here: https://twitter.com/signup
Social media can be used by radiologists to access radiology news, events and research. Radiologists can also follow educational channels that demonstrate novel and useful approaches to image interpretation, understanding anatomy and radiological procedures.
Here’s some tips when using or accessing social media:
- Maintain confidentiality – When sharing cases, radiologists must anonymise all personal information so that the case cannot be traced back to a patient. It is often a good idea to leave some time between seeing a patient and posting their case – simply knowing the radiologist or hospital that the case came from may un-anonymise a patients imaging if taken recently. If there is any chance that a post can be traced back to a patient or if the case is rare, written patient consent must be sought prior to uploading.
- Be critical of information and research – Not everything you read on the Internet is true. Make sure you consider information from various sources, and form an educated, well-informed judgement.
- Professionalism – Radiologists must be professional when posting or interacting with others on social media. As doctors they represent not just themselves, but their profession. You must remember that many social media platforms are public, allowing easy access to information, which could affect job progression and future career opportunities. Remember to maintain the duties of a doctor in accordance to your overseeing organisation. For example, in the UK the GMC has issued specific guidance on social media use.
Finally, as much as there are a few things to be careful of, radiologists are encouraged to engage with social media and evaluate ways to optimally integrate these platforms into their radiology practice for educational, networking and research purposes.
This post was written by Abbas Palkhi, a medical student at the time of publishing.