published in the Journal of the American
College of Radiologists demonstrates the ability that social media offers
us to form a cohesive community, facilitate multi-institutional collaboration,
empower patients to actively participate in healthcare decisions, stay updated
on trends and issues associated with healthcare, and promote quality
improvement in radiology.
Social media has been extensively used by health professionals as a powerful tool that benefits patients, enhances professional networks and advances understanding of factors that influence public health. Radiology practices across the United States have been increasingly using social media to enhance patient engagement and promote their services and expertise. A recent survey showed that 85% of radiologists use such applications for a combination of private and professional purposes. Previous studies of adult Internet users have demonstrated that 62% use social media and 80% search the Internet to be informed about health issues. The Society of Abdominal Radiology sponsors a Twitter account in order to disseminate expert educational material and answers patient questions and concerns.
See Also : Social Media Opportunities in Radiology
Despite this widespread adoption of social media, the means by which this technology can be used to promote quality improvement in radiology are underexplored. A study by Nadja Kadom, MD, and co-authors, reviews the available evidence and discusses the potential contribution of social media to radiology quality improvement and why everyone in the field should embrace these tools.
Quality improvement can help in a variety of ways, for instance by educating stakeholders about quality and safety issues in radiology, such as radiation exposure and structured radiology reports. In addition, through social media, healthcare providers can learn about patient complaints and what patients desire. In radiology, innovative uses of social media, such as live streaming of interventional radiology procedures thus providing useful, unsolicited and real-time data that might not be captured by traditional feedback mechanisms.
Previous research has shown that content posted on a radiology blogging website received 10-14 times more views than articles which were published in major peer-reviewed radiology journals and were available online. This is an indication of the benefit that social media present for researchers and performance improvement specialists. Moreover, some social media sites are designed to facilitate collaboration through teleconferencing thus bringing together radiologists as a quality improvement community. Such applications can complement in-person meetings as they are independent of space and time. Quality-driven initiatives can thus be easily disseminated through social media and may thus lead to quality improvement in other healthcare organizations.
Social media can also be used to aggregate content from a large number of social media platforms related to healthcare and radiology posted by various radiology societies into a single, easy-to-consume resource, thus helping radiologists stay updated on health policy changes, quality improvement trends, and new rules and regulations.