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SGEM#35: We are Young (Social Media and Medical Education)

SGEM#35: We are Young (Social Media and Medical Education)

Podcast Link:SGEM35 2
Date: May 5th, 2013
Title: We are Young (Social Media and Medical Education)

This is a follow-up to Episode#30: My Generation. Every five episodes or so I like to deviate from the case based evidence based medicine (EBM) formula where we critically review an article or topic.

The goal of TheSGEM however remains the same, to cut the knowledge translation (KT) window from 10 years to 1 year. This is so you the listener can provide the best EBM care to the patients you treat. It uses social media to turn Med Ed on its head.

TheSGEM is part of the Free Open Access to Medical Education or FOAMed. Episode 30 was well received. It looked at the generational tension the SGEM has created between baby boom faculty and Gen Y learners. These two groups have different priorities, styles, and goals among other things. Information technology and specifically social media has been embraced by the Gen Ys more so than the boomers.

TheSGEM has empowered students to have the latest, greatest, EBM in the palm of their hand. They also can listen to the podcast when working out or turn their car into a classroom. And while they may have the information readily available in the lecture hall or at the patients bedside they may also lack the experience to put this information into perspective.

Episode 30 discussed these issues BUT and yes there is a BUT, one of TheSGEMs skeptical listener (and she knows who she is) correctly pointed out two things. The first was that all the guest on the show were boomers. The second constructive criticism was that they were all men. So I have searched high and low for a group of Gen Yers to provide that “fair and balanced” perspective.

Today have three very bright and talented students joining TheSGEM. Alia taught the twitter lecture at the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada(SRPC) meeting last month in Victoria BC. I was immediately impressed with her and enjoyed the presentation. Hope you didn’t mind I was tweeting through the whole lecture. Jimmy a medical student who will be working with me this summer on a new social media project we are launching this fall. And Beth is the third guest who I also met at SRPC and went wow! She attended my lecture on social media, kept me on my toes, how, by asking questions and being a skeptical. Yes she is Gen Yer who is skeptical of all this social media stuff and how it fits into medical education and life.

Alia the twitter expert (@alia_dh):

  • aliaHow do you see twitter fitting into medical education?
  • Do you think you can teach complicated topics like medicine in 140 characters or less?
  • Do you think it is rude to twitter during lecture?
  • How about on clinical rounds?
  • How does it make you feel when a patient twitters during visit?


Jimmy the social media machine (@Jimmy_Yan):

  • jimmyWhat pod casts would you recommend? Surgery 101 and JMTM podcast
  • How do you handle the issue of professors not being up to date?
  • What expectation do you have that your professors to be up to date on the latest evidence based medicine?
  • Do you think professors should be listening to pod casts and why?


Beth the social media skeptic:

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhy are you skeptical of social media?
  • Do you think there is a role for social media in med ed?
  • Do you think there should be course taught to students AND professors on social media?
  • What do you think is the BEST aspect of social media?

BEEM Bottom Line: The #SoMe world is an extension of you as a learner; so as on the wards, be thoughtful, curious, respectful, humorous, and use good grammar!

KEENER KONTESTLast weeks winner was my very first resident from years and years ago. And because he was my first resident that also makes him my # one resident. Super smart guy…Dr. Travis Nairn, of Owen Sound.  He correctly knew that the first person described in 1899 to have a post LP headache was Dr. Bier himself. Talk about commitment to research and talking one for the team.

Be sure to listen to for this weeks Keener Kontest question. If you are the first one to email me the correct answer at with “keener” in the subject line you will receive a cool skeptical prize.

Don’t forget to follow the SGEM on twitter @TheSGEM and like us on Facebook (it only takes one click).

Remember to be skeptical of anything you learn, even if you heard it on The Skeptics Guide to Emergency Medicine. Talk with you next week.


  • Dave Savage

    Hi Ken

    Thanks again for another great episode.

    Your guests talked about social media (specifically Twitter) and the
    interruption (or disconnect) that social media may cause in patient
    interactions. What about patient safety issues when it comes to the
    distraction that social media can cause? There is a broad literature on
    medical errors and physician distraction and a quick Google search brings up some relevant papers. I was told that an ED physician is interrupted every 18 seconds… Although this may be an exaggeration, ED physicians are pulled in many directions while trying to accomplish some difficult tasks… Do you think the trend of connectedness in social media puts patients at risk for medical errors?

    I think this an important topic for discussion.


    • Ken

      Great question about interruptions. It will be how we incorporate this new technology into daily practice. It should be used to enhance and improve patient care. Caution must be exercised to make sure it does not impact patient safety negatively.

      • Beth Joosse

        Yep! This is a topic I feel strongly about, whether on the wards or at the dinner table. It’s an amazing and unique development of our time that we’re able to be so connected to people we’re not with, but as it’s been cautioned time and time again, it’s extremely important that the constant (and sometimes dangerously superficial) connections we’re privileged to maintain via communication technology don’t take us away from the real people sitting in front of us!

        It does, however, seem like a fairly simple problem to fix. Setting your phone to silent, making a habit of not reading texts or emails with (or even between, in many cases) patients, and setting realistic expectations for each other with regard to how quickly texts, emails, and facebook messages should be answered should be attainable goals, and will make all the difference to ensuring that our emerg (and other) health care professionals are being present with their patients and efficient with their time.

    • Alia

      This is a really good question, Dave and I spent a lot of time reflecting on this today. Thanks for asking! I think with all technologies there are more bings, dings, whistles and chimes that pull us out of our work and out of the “therapeutic moment.” I would agree that with more distractions it could detract from the patient care we give because it’s hard to connect with patients when one’s phone or pager is going off in the middle of an interview. I would say that this falls under the respect and “good manners” part of social media etiquette. There’s a time and place for everything and I would hope that this etiquette would encourage physicians to reflect on “is this the right time”, and “is this the right place” to be tweeting and using social media. This isn’t really an answer to your question, so much as it is a pondering and definitely something I will be thinking about more.

  • N

    Excellent podcast this week. Great to hear different
    perspectives from Generation Y regarding social media in healthcare and
    medical education. I am a very big supporter of it by the way, and I
    hope that some day, clinicians and academics alike can gain professional
    recognition for it.

    • Ken

      Thanks for the feedback.
      Hope this new tool we are learning to use can improve patient care.

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