As we reflect and blog about RSNA this year, a topic that comes to mind is that of social media and its presence both at the conference and in radiology in general.
The conference not only offered a hands-on introduction to social media, with coverage of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to name a few, but also encouraged the use of these social networks throughout the event. This initiative was apparently quite successful, with numerous tweets being sent out and Instagrams captured during the conference, with the #RSNA14 hashtag.
Dr. Hawkins highlights some of the key benefits of using social media for healthcare professionals especially Twitter and notes that it is an efficient way to share and search for expert input from others in your field, internationally. It is a way to highlight your personal brand, learn, network and educate. Additionally, he notes that the collaboration it promotes amongst physicians, as well as the streamlining of care within hospitals, is a focus for the future of patient care.
According to Dr. Elliot Fishman, a major barrier to the adoption of social media by radiologists is simply that they're afraid of using it. He notes that the younger fellows and residents are much more comfortable using the technology whereas more senior clinicians are somewhat more hesitant. Furthermore, the fear of breaking laws and overstepping medical privacy lead to further drawbacks. In response to these worries, Dr. Fishman recommends staying away from controversial topics and maintaining a positive presence in the social media world.
Figure1: Toronto-based app touted as the Instagram for health care professionals is aiming to address these worries by spreading awareness of their easy-to-use solution. Now used in 7 countries, the app includes a privacy moderation team that regulates uploaded pictures, and the app's developers maintain that patient privacy is a top priority. This is just one example of how radiologists and physicians in general are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits that social media offers, and are adopting it in their practices as well.
Because it is an easy and real-time way to keep up to date with news and in touch with other radiologists, many more radiologists are incorporating social media in to their daily lives. One study went so far as to proclaim the necessity of social media and online social networking in a radiologists career. While it may not be a life-or-death situation, I do believe social media offers many advantages to the practicing radiologist and expect that this will be a trend we continue to see in the coming years. And on that note, comment away on our blog posts and if you haven't already, find and follow us on twitter!