Article Text

Download PDFPDF
M26 Tweeting is Teaching - #RespEd: Free, Open-Access Twitter educational resource for trainees and specialists in Respiratory Medicine
  1. RW Lee1,
  2. LJ Smith2,
  3. T Hillman2
  1. 1Division of Asthma, Allergy and Lung Biology, Guy’s Hospital, King’s Health Partners, London, UK
  2. 2University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK


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 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

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.