The use of social media to supplement resident medical education - The SMART-ME initiative

Panagis Galiatsatos, Fernanda Porto-Carreiro, Jennifer Hayashi, Sammy Zakaria, Colleen Christmas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background: Residentswork at variable times and are often unable to attend all scheduled educational sessions. Therefore, new asynchronistic approaches to learning are essential in ensuring exposure to a comprehensive education. Social media tools may be especially useful, because they are accessed at times convenient for the learner. Objective: Assess if the use of Twitter for medical education impacts the attitude and behavior of residents toward using social media for medical education. Design: Preintervention and postintervention surveys. Internal medicine resident physicians were surveyed before the launch of a residency-specific Twitter webpage on August 1, 2013, and again 135 days later, to determine their use of the Twitter application and web page, as well as other social media for medical education. Participants: Residents at an internal medicine urban academic training program. Main Measures: All residents within our training program were administered web-based surveys. The surveys assessed resident views and their frequency of use of social media for medical education purposes, and consisted of 10 Likert scale questions. Each answer consisted of a datapoint on a 1-5 scale (1=not useful, 3=useful, 5=very useful). The final survey question was open-ended and asked for general comments. Key Results: Thirty-five of 50 residents (70%) completed the presurvey and 40 (80%) participated in the postsurvey. At baseline, 34 out of 35 residents used social media and nine specifically used Twitter. Twentyseven (77%) used social media for medical education; however, only three used Twitter for educational purposes. After the establishment of the Twitter page, the percentage of residents using social media for educational purposes increased (34 of 40 residents, 85%), and 22 used Twitter for this purpose (p<0.001 for the change). The percentage of residents using the application at least once a week also increased from 11.4 to 60.0% (p<0.001). Almost all residents (38 of 40) felt that social media could be useful as a medical education tool, which slightly increased from 30 out of 35 in the preintervention survey (p=0.01). Conclusion: Residents believe social media could be used for medical education. After we launched a Twitter page for medical education, there was a significant increase in the use and frequency of Twitter for resident medical education over the ensuing 6 months. Further research should be performed to see if social media can impact overall medical knowledge and patient care, and whether longer term use is maintained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29332
JournalMedical education online
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Medical education
  • Social media
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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