Social media is increasingly popular but engaging in its proper use can prove confusing and challenging - especially in the medical and healthcare arenas. Albert Einstein College of Medicine (http://www.einstein.yu.edu/) of Yeshiva University has been awarded a two-year grant to educate faculty members and medical students on using social media appropriately and effectively. Einstein is one of four medical schools in the United States to be selected for the 2012 Education and Training to Professionalism Initiative by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.
According to the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, 66 percent of online adults use social networking sites. Yet a survey of U.S. medical schools deans found that 60 percent of schools reported incidents of unprofessional content posted on the Internet by their students.
"The next generation of doctors needs to understand how social media can be a double-edged sword," said principal investigator Elizabeth Kitsis, M.D., M.B.E., who is director of bioethics education and assistant professor of epidemiology & population health and of medicine at Einstein. "On the one hand, it can be a great way to provide personalized medical education for patients. However, great attention must be paid to maintaining the principles of professionalism, such as privacy and confidentiality of the physician-patient relationship." Accordingly, the title of the grant is "Social Media and Medical Professionalism: Perfect Match or Perfect Storm?"
"Since the current generation of medical educators may not share the same familiarity with social media as our students, our program first focuses on bridging that gap with a comprehensive faculty development program on social networking," explained Martha Grayson, M.D., co-investigator and Einstein's senior associate dean for medical education. "But our overarching goal is to teach medical students how they can use social media in a way that will benefit patient care while maintaining professional standards."