Friday, November 9, 2012

Re-cap of AAMC12: What Should Faculty Know About Social Media?

We had a great time facilitating our AAMC small group discussion "What Should Faculty Know About Social Media." Despite it being one of the very last sessions of a very long meeting, we had a nice turnout of engaged, thoughtful participants, including at least two people whose tweets I've admired: Alex Djuricich (@medpedsdoctor) from Indiana University and Louise Aronson (@LouiseAronson) from UCSF.

Dr. Marti Grayson started the session by getting a quick generational survey of the participants. Most were from the Baby Boomer generation or Gen X. There were no self-identified Millennials, except for one person who I can safely say was kidding. Participants took a self-assessment survey to look at their own social media use and were able to compare their results with that of Einstein students who took the same survey.

I gave a brief presentation on professionalism and social media that was split into 4 sections. The first was establishing that preparing our trainees for practicing medicine in the digital age was an imperative. From managing relationships and boundaries with patients on social media, to empowered e-patients, to physician rating sites, to the clinical practice of medicine using social media, social media medicine competencies are essential. The next section was about what is to be gained by use of social media for medicine (scholarship, professional development, advocacy, patient education and engagement, medical education applications, to name a few), followed by what is at stake if physicians do not use social media responsibly (ethical and legal problems, licensing issues, public trust in the profession). The final section covered what complicates our charge to prepare trainees, including the "gray areas" of professionalism, generational differences in what is deemed appropriate online, formal guidelines/policies may be too broad/vague, and the issue of just who are the "experts" at any institution.

Participants discussed these issues, including who should best lead the way in education about social media. Should students or residents instead of faculty? One participant came to the conclusion that any education about social media for trainees needs to be framed in the positive: the opportunities. Several heads nodded.

Next, Dr. Liz Kitsis described what Einstein has done so far in terms of faculty development on social media use. Earlier this year, Einstein devoted an entire faculty development day to social media in medical education with Keynote presentations by Dr. Kent Bottles and myself. Workshops covered how to use social media in education and how to use social media for scholarship and professional development. Dr. Kitsis is the recipient of an IMAP/Macy Grant on social media and professionalism that includes education of faculty in social media in medicine. How very cool. We heard about some of their plans.

Finally, it was time for the participants to come up with some baseline competencies in social media all faculty should have. Here is what they came up with:
  • Social media literacy:
    • Familiarity with social media tools and their purpose
    • Know the vocabulary, abbreviations
    • Actual use of at least one tool
  • Recognize principles of using social media responsibly
  • Identify preferred social media tools for medical education
  • Understand generational differences in technology/social media use and views on professionalism
  • Understand privacy and security issues pertaining to social media use
  • Familiarity with social media policies - both from major medical organizations and specific to your institution
To achieve these competencies, they thought institutions should offer regular ongoing faculty development sessions to keep up with trends, learn from students themselves and have students/trainees be part of the design of these sessions, find a "twentor" (colleague who can serve as a social media mentor), and to use social media themselves.

We could have kept talking for hours, but it was time to catch flights home. We offered this blog as a place to come together, share ideas, and continue the conversation.

Are there competencies we missed? Other ideas for how to meet these competencies? Would love your thoughts in the comments.


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