Social media has great potential to support and enable health professional education to promote knowledge sharing, communication, networking and research/evaluation. While most health professional trainees are already using social media unofficially in health education, professional schools/faculties and licensing bodies are still catching up in establishing pathways and policies to support social media use in health education. There is also a need to identify key issues that need further research and evaluation for evidence-based implementation and improvement.

The U21 SoMe project was initiated after the U21 HSG annual meeting at UCD in September 2013 by Dr Kendall Ho (UBC) and Dr Jason Last (UCD). The key objective of the initiative was to identify and recommend strategies to integrate and harmonize social media into the full spectrum of health professional education, and to carry out educational research and evaluation to follow social media evolution in the future. The project was implemented to specifically examine three areas:

  • Examples and good practices in the use of social media for health education
  • Examples and types of policies to guide social media use in health education
  • Potential areas of educational research in using social media for health education

A steering committee was formed for this project and comprises members from 8 universities and all U21 HSG disciplines. A one-day workshop took place in Vancouver on 10 May 2014 to discuss progress made so far, and a one-day workshop about the findings of this project took place on 23 September 2014 in Shanghai. Dr Kendall Ho and Dr Jason Last also presented a report of the project at the U21 HSG annual meeting at Fudan University (see the report). 

Between November 2013 and September 2014, the steering group did some literature review and carried out a U21 member school survey to find out how different schools were using social media for education, and what policies they had in place to guide the appropriate use of social media for education.  The deliverables of this project will be to generate a paper to summarize findings, develop an inventory of exemplars and policies in place, and document areas where we may need additional development.

The project received additional support from the U21 Health Sciences Group to continue its activities for the period October 2014 to December 2015. The key objective for this second year is to carry out the knowledge translation of the findings with all U21 HS member universities in order to engage them to participate in the initiative. In addition to completing the analysis of the data obtained through the survey distributed in 2014, the U21 SoMe steering committee will be working on 1) developing a repository of educational materials and policies related to social media in health education and 2) establishing an educational tool kit to help schools interested in starting or enriching the use of social media in health education. A one-day workshop took place in Santiago, Chile on 22 September 2015 (see report).

In September 2016, a third Social Media workshop was organized and took place at the University of Birmingham, UK, on 13 September 2016. The one-day event included a workshop on Professional identity , as well as presentations of several educational interventions using Social Media in U21 institutions. In November 2016, the Social Media steering committee agreed to move to the knowledge translation phase of the project by encouraging each participating university to form a local Social Media team to implement and measure an educational intervention. In November 2016, 11 universities participate in the project that is co-chaired by Dr Jason Last (University College Dublin) and Professor Claire Anderson (University of Nottingham).

 

Repository of educational materials

 

Publications

  • O'Sullivan E, Cutts E, Kavikondala S, Salcedo A, D'Souza K, Hernandez-Torre M, Anderson C, Tiwari A, Ho K, Last J.
    Social Media in Health Science Education: An International Survey. JMIR Med Educ 2017;3(1):e1. http://mededu.jmir.org/2017/1/e1

  • Davis WM, Ho K, Last J. Advancing social media in medical education. Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) 2015 Apr 7. pii: cmaj.141417. [Epub ahead of print]. http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2015/04/13/cmaj.141417

 

Posters and presentations

  • D’Souza, K., Henningham, L., Huang, J., Zou, R., Sullivan, L., Ho, K. Attitudes of Global Health Professional Faculty to Social Media as a Teaching Tool. Oral presentation at E-Learning. Annual Canadian Conference for Medical Education. 2016 April 18; Montreal, QC, Canada.
     
  • D’Souza, K., Henningham, L., Huang, J., Zou, R., Sullivan, L., Ho, K. Attitudes of Global Health Professional Faculty to Social Media as a Teaching Tool. Poster presented at Health Care Research. Annual Western Student Medical Research Forum. 2016 January 28-30; Carmel, CA, USA
     
  • Remedios L. et al. Social media use in health professional education: preliminary findings from an international and interdisciplinary study. Oral presentation at Australian Physiotherapy Association Conference. 2015 October 3-6; Gold Coast, Australia.
     
  • Lam C.Y, Tiwari A. et al. Social Media Policy in Health Professinal Education. Oral presentation at International Conference on Open and Flexible Education (ICOFE). 2015 July 16-17; Hong Kong SAR.
     
  • Anderson C., Cutts E. et al. Implementing good practice about the use of social media in health professional education. Oral presentation at Monash Pharmacy Education Symposium. 2015 July 5-8; Prato, Italy.
     
  • Davis W.M., Ho K., D'souza K., Hughes H., Last J. - On behalf of the Universitas 21 Health Sciences Social Media for Health Education Committee. Attitudes and Beliefs of Health Professional Faculty about Social Media as a Teaching/Learning Tool. Oral presentation at the 2nd BC eHealth and Innovative Technology Showcase. 2015 May 9; Vancouver, BC, Canada.
     
  • Remedios L. et al. An International and Interprofessional Exploration of Health Professional Educator and Student Use of Social Media. Oral presentation at World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress. 2015 May 1-4; Singapore; Abstract Number: RR-PL-3506.
     
  • Hughes H., Last J., Davis W., Ho K. - On behalf of the Universitas 21 Health Sciences Social Media for Health Education CommitteeSocial Media in Health Education: Work in ProgressPoster presented at the 1st BC eHealth and Innovative Technology Showcase. 2014 May 9; Vancouver, BC, Canada.
     
  • Hughes H., Last J., Davis W., Ho K. - On behalf of the Universitas 21 Health Sciences Social Media for Health Education Committee. Social Media in Health Education: Work in ProgressPoster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Irish Network of Medical Educators (INMED). 2014 February 20-21; Dublin, Ireland.

 

The document 'Towards a Framework for the Use of Social Media in Health Professional Education' intents to inform the U21 Health Science Group of the literature findings such that they may then be considered by staff and students across the network as they engage with Social Media within the learning environment.

In 2015, a Video Competition was organized for students to engage schools in the U21 Health Sciences Group to participate in the development and implementation of social media (SoMe) through crowd sourcing and contribution of ideas to enrich the content and stimulate creative directions forward in the U21 Health Sciences Social Media for Education in Health project.