Date: October 15th, 2017

I had the privilege to present a plenary talk at the Saskatchewan Emergency Medicine Annual Conference (SEMAC). It was held in the majestic Delta Hotel in Saskatoon. Thank you to Dr. James Stempien, Dr. Paul Olszynski and the organizing committee for inviting me and showing me such hospitality.


The plenary talk was entitled Going On-Line to Meet your Continuing Medical Education (CME) Needs. It tried to answer why we need to go on-line and how to go on-line.

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SEMAC Plenary

Why we go on-line to meet our CME needs is because there is a knowledge translation problem. It can take over ten years for high-quality, clinically relevant information to reach the patients bedside. This is far too long in the age of social media and we want patients to get the best care based on the best evidence. Ultimately we want to have a number needed to treat (NNT) to help one patient to be one.

There were six references provided to assist people with how to get on-line, use social media (FOAMed) and assess the quality.

  • Thoma et al. Five strategies to effectively use online resources in emergency medicine. Annals of EM 2014
  • Lo et al. Four strategies to find, evaluate, and engage with online resources in emergency medicine. CJEM 2017
  • Pereira et al. Thou shalt not tweet unprofessionally: an appreciative inquiry into the professional use of social media. Postgrad Med J 2015
  • Thoma et al. Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Blogs and Podcasts: Establishing an International Consensus on Quality. Annals of EM 2015
  • Thoma et al. The impact of social media promotion with infographics and podcasts on research dissemination and readership
  • Roland D. Social media and the digital health arena. Future Healthcare Journal 2017

A number of high quality blogs, Facebook pages, and podcasts were provided. Best Evidence in Emergency Medicine (BEEM) program was explained. The success of the SGEMHOP initiative with Academic Emergency Medicine was also described.

You can download the slides for the presentation by clicking on the link or the thumbnail picture.

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Social Media 101

A second talk was given called Social Media 101. During the talk social media was defined, various examples of social media were provided and we broke up into small groups to discuss the top three criticisms of social media. Then the first 2,500 years of social media was presented in a original way, a three act play. And finally, participants were shown how to get started on Facebook, Twitter and podcasts.

The main part of the Social Media 101 presentation was a three act play performed by members of the audience.

  • ACT I: This was the story from 4th Century BCE and involved the Greek philosopher Socrates. The scene involved his criticisms of the new social media of the day, paper.


    Socrates and Students

  • ACT II: This looked at what was happening in Europe in the 14th and 15th Century AD. It talked about the Gutenberg printing press and how it played a role in the reformation. Key players in the scene were Martin Luther and Pope Leo X.


    Martin Luther and Pope Leo X

  • ACT III: This took place in England in the 17th Century AD coffee houses. These coffee houses were referred to as Penny Universities. It highlighted how great things could come out of a coffee shop chat room. The scene involved Sir Isaac Newton, Edmond Halley and Robert Hooke.


    Hooke, Halley and Newton


Tom Standage

The audience were all good sports in participating in the play. I also think providing the information as a play was a unique and memorable way of delivering the message. It really demonstrated that the criticisms about social media have been around for over two thousand years. Much of this information came from the book by Tom Standage called Writing on the Wall: Social media the first 2,000 years.


The five take home points from the Social Media 101 presentation were:

  1. Start – Get on social media
  2. Watch – It’s OK to lurk at the beginning
  3. Engage – Interact, create and respond
  4. Don’t be a Jerk – Make your interactions honourable
  5. Enjoy – It’s supposed to be social so have a good time show your personality

All of the slides from this presentation are also available by clicking on the thumbnail picture or this link.

Remember to be skeptical of anything you learn, even if you heard it on the Skeptics’ Guide to Emergency Medicine.