ASH Clinical News ACN_5.1_Digital - Page 34

Features Welcome to the Digital World Over the past two decades, social media has become an integral part of everyday lives, with millions of people using it as an avenue for keeping in touch with family and friends, receiving news and product recommendations, and – with varying outcomes – asking questions about health conditions. Doctors aren’t any different: More than 75,000 health-care profession- als are on Twitter, posting an average of 152,000 tweets per day. 1 But investigators, basic scientists, and clinicians are using social media for much different purposes than the general public. Some may consult with a colleague about a perplexing pathology image or case or providing a 280-character-or-less summary of a newly published peer-reviewed journal article. For many doctors, social media has also become another tool to reach for in the clinic, thanks to the ubiquity of mobile devices: According to a 2017 study, 88 per- cent of doctors report using a smartphone or tablet in the clinical setting, typically to access information for patient care. 2 32 ASH Clinical News So, everyone and his or her doctor is on social media – now what? ASH Clinical News spoke with clinicians and investigators about how hematologists are using social media, its benefits and limitations, and how it affects their prac- tice and patient relationships. Endless Applications During the first week of December, more than 25,000 hematologists convened in San Diego for the 2018 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, and many more could check in virtually by following the more than 29,000 tweets tagged #ASH18 on social media. The growing use of social media was the focus of a special-interest session at the meeting. As session chair and chair of the ASH Committee on Communications Aaron Gerds, MD, MS (@AaronG- erds), from the Leukemia Program at Cleveland Clinic, said, “Whatever you want social media to do for you, it can do.” For the speakers at this session, that includes patient interaction, medical education, networking, and even career advancement. One panelist, Amber Yates, MD (@sicklecelldoc), a pediatric hematolo- gist from Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, said that the main benefit of social media for her practice “is that it allows doctors to meet patients where they are.” Unfortunately, where they are may be a site of misinformation. For example, in the past decade, the U.S. has seen a resurgence of diseases once thought to be nearly or completely eradicated, due largely in part to the anti- vaccination movement. While the contro- versy over vaccinations has existed as long as the vaccines themselves, the campaign escalated and spread worldwide in recent years – largely through misinformation shared on social media outlets. An analysis from 2018 showed that 60 percent of the information about influ- enza vaccines shared on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube January 2019