Introduction Social media use in medical education is expanding rapidly, bringing with it a novel means of learner engagement, feedback, collaboration and professional development.1 A growing body of respiratory specialists and trainees are now engaging in such activities via Twitter.2 We describe one of the commonest dedicated Respiratory ‘Hashtags’ (“#RespEd”) where content related to evidence-based medicine (EBM), e-learning and collaboration is curated.
Methods “#RespEd” tweets were reviewed for usage statistics since 01/01/2013 using www.Symplur.com with more detailed review of monthly analytics since 01/04/2014. All “#RespEd” tweets were downloaded from Twitter and Symplur. Transcripts were reviewed for content using Microsoft Excel. A review of related hastags identified through Symplur was conducted to assess reach across Respiratory hashtags in a similar timeframe.
Results The “#RespEd hashtag” was first used in January 2013. Since this time, Symplur identified 1,099 participants and 5,973 tweets. Audience ‘reach’ was recorded as 7,384,722 impressions. A steady increase in users has evolved in the last 18 months with clear peaks in activity around the BTS Summer and Winter meetings. Participants included a wide range of professionals including doctors, nursing staff, pharmacists, physiotherapists, patients and representatives of societies and mainstream respiratory journals. Users were from numerous countries. Common content included evidence-based medicine (e.g. recently published articles), e-learning resources and ‘live-tweets’ from training days, which were usually picture tweets of lecturers slides. Other established respiratory hashtags included (participants): #ATS2015 (2,812), #ERS2014 (2,179), #Pulmcc (1,927), #BTSWinter (487).
Conclusions Twitter represents an untapped respiratory educational resource, which is truly multi-disciplinary and breaks boundaries between professional groups. The BTS conferences have provided a clear platform to broaden this resource. There is an opportunity to reach out to trainees and others seeking continuing professional development and provide both reliable resources and a ‘place’ to foster debate and discourse on topical respiratory themes.
References 1 Cheston CC, Flickinger TE, Chisolm MS, et al. Social media use in medical education: a systematic review. Acad Med. 2013;88(6):893–901
2 Chalmers JD, Greening NJ, Jose RJ, et al. Review of the British Thoracic Society Winter Meeting 2013. Thorax 2014;69:378–382