Physicians’ adoption of social media continues to grow. ASCO’s annual conference this year saw a 41% increase in physician engagement compared to last year. Ask a physician who uses social media what role it plays in their professional life and you’ll be amazed at how deep and varied the use cases are.
It’s true that most social media use is about the consumption of content and learning, but that is also true for traditional mediums such as journal articles. Keen observers of today’s reality though are seeing that more and more physicians are creating impactful and important medical content that is exclusively published on social media.
Social media now plays a growing role in scholarship, education, information dissemination, and career advancement for physicians. It doesn’t take the place of traditional journals, it performs a different job and meets different needs.
Those physicians who have recognized the emerging role of social media have become influencers in their professions and in the conversations around their medical specialty or disease area – to the benefit of all of us.
The question is, as more and more time is spent by HCPs publishing social media content, and its increasing importance, how should that be reflected in the traditional CV? The job of a CV is to reflect the professional output of an individual as well as an attempt to reflect who that person is. Without listing professional social media output, the CV will have a gap and a growing area of a physician’s professional practice will be missing – to the detriment of the candidates and those hiring.
CVs usually list select journal articles and their corresponding citation metrics. Two questions regarding social media now need to be answered:
- How should select impactful social media output be listed?
- What metrics should be used for evidence of impact?
For an answer to the first question, I highly recommend reading this white paper by the physicians Mark Shapiro, Charlie Wray, and Vinny Arora. Their accompanying podcast (of course the white paper has a podcast episode!) is illuminating in its description of the current CV situation, the opportunities for physicians, and how they themselves are currently handling this question. One of my favorite quotes from the podcast is Vinny Arora’s “Twitter is the vehicle for a physician to gain national recognition and impact.” Dr. Arora brought up that a criterion for receiving tenure as a Professor is that you moved a field, and she argues that Twitter today can now be part of moving a field. She herself was just a couple of weeks ago elected to membership in the National Academy of Medicine.
The answer to the second question, “what metrics should be used for evidence of impact?”, is of truly great interest to me and it’s where I hope Symplur can contribute towards a solution.
Since this summer, Symplur has been collaborating with Mayo Clinic on issues related to measuring the impact of physicians, academics and other HCPs on social media. Their insights in this area are unparalleled, and with the recent appointment I received to the External Advisory Board of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network we’re excited to move forward with a solution addressing this need.
Getting this measurement right is crucial for a correct diagnosis of a physician’s current impact and advancement in this medium, but it’s equally important for those organizations hiring and recruiting physicians. With an accurate measurement you will know where you are, and knowing where you are is necessary for you get to where you want to be (CME classes are now being created for this specific purpose). Likewise, with more data coming in showing positive correlations between social media impact and quality of care on both the individual and organizational level, people who hire physicians are incentivized to check a candidate’s social media impact as a new comparison datapoint aiding their hiring decision.
We believe that a solution for measuring and documenting impact can be engineered, and we can’t wait to share more with you on this topic and the insights we’ve gained from our collaborations. Stay tuned!