One of the positions required in the 21st Century is SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER.
Hospitals may have Communications Managers or Public Relations Managers or occasionally press officers for really large institutions. In my experience these positions are largely about reducing, not increasing, communication with the public and with the hospital’s relevant communities – unless of course there is a good news story.
In the age of social media the hospitals will need social media managers because if they don’t have them their communities will be incorporating them (hospitals) into social media commentary without their input.
Hospitals will worry about negative comments but in general that is fine….in fact some might consider it to be called ‘accountability’. Interestingly social media may help identify hospitals providing quality care: Bardach NS, Asteria-peñaloza R, Boscardin WJ, Adams dudley R. The relationship between commercial website ratings and traditional hospital performance measures in the USA. BMJ Qual Saf. 2012. In this study high Yelp scores correlated with lower readmission rates and mortality.
Social media provides an avenue for the public to provide feedback on hospital performance that may help hospitals undertake quality improvement: so social media is part of a consumer engagement strategy. In addition social media is a channel to keep the community informed about important health information, e.g. a flu-outbreak. Social media could be used to keep the community appraised of opportunities to participate in research. And of course there are fund-raising opportunities.
For the moment the hospital I work in won’t allow staff to access social media at work so I’m not expecting a social media manager any time soon. Sooner or later we’ll have to join the rest of the world.
Continuing profession development or continuing medical education concerns a number of activities aimed at maintaining professional standards, skills-based competency, and currency of knowledge and practice. I’ve just lodged my 2012 CPD points with the RACP. 100 points are required over 12 months. These points are relatively easy to accrue for somebody like myself, for example, attending a conference might garner between 10 and 30 points, a publication scores 5 points, post-graduate study carries 50 points a semester. You can acquire points through online learning, logging your access of UpToDate, recording the clinical meetings you attend and teaching undertaken, and logging participation in quality improvement exercises.
One of the key points with CPD is reflective learning. In fact, in the program that I participate in, demonstrating reflection garners additional points.
After submitting my points I realised that I didn’t include my blogging and microblogging as part of my CPD and likewise – there was no category for this type of activity in the menu of options available to accrue points. When I post medical tweets it is often after having read abstracts and whole articles from the medical literature – these days often through Read by QxMD on iPad, via the popular press such as the New York Times, or several other healthcare blogs. My tweets become a potentially audit trail for my CPD activities.
My blog posts have largely been reflective learning pieces on ‘things they didn’t teach at medical school’ and commentary on health policy issues, in particular, on eHealth.
Reflective writing is increasingly adopted into medical school curricula and part the formative assessment process of students. Fischer et al found no difference between written and blogged reflections undertaken in medical clerkships (Med Educ 2011 45(2):166-75).
Although CPD is largely inwards looking blogging and microblogging serve an outward looking purpose in that it is a way of disseminating information and opinion and also communicating with other interested parties, potentially creating learning communities. In some cases the amount of influence is measurable through a variety of social media metrics (e.g. Klout and Kred Scores).
CPD programs should recognize blogging and social media activities as valid forms of reflective learning.