Symplur and Stanford Medicine X are welcoming proposals for our third annual research challenge until March 1 at 5 p.m.
Can a virtual hashtag create a real community? Damian Roland, MD, wasn’t certain. He’d been tracking #FOAMed—short for Free Open Access Medical Education—since it debuted on Twitter in 2012. Through it, he read other health care providers’ posts on everything from specialized procedures to rare causes of patient deaths. But he didn’t have a way to measure how broad its impact was on his fellow critical care emergency medicine doctors and nurses around the world.
Then the Stanford Medicine X | Symplur Everyone Included™ Research Challenge gave him the opportunity to find out. His winning project used Symplur’s database of health care-related tweets to measure the impact of #FOAMed. The results, he said, have been “eye-opening.” Roland, a consultant and honorary senior lecturer in pediatric emergency medicine at Leicester Hospitals and his collaborators—Jesse Spur, a clinical nurse consultant from Australia and Daniel Cabrera, MD, of the Mayo Clinic—determined that the hashtag had indeed created a true community of practice. #FOAMed was improving providers’ knowledge, allowing them to share expertise and solve problems in a way they couldn’t have managed on their own.
“The way it brings people together, the way they interact, the way they learn from each other can be extremely powerful,” Roland said.
Roland’s team was the challenge’s first winner. The next year, Ruth Carlos, MD, deputy editor of the Journal of the American College of Radiology, won for her examination of how reaching out to patients via Twitter improved patient participation in the journal’s online community.
“Patients should be a key stakeholder or key reader,” she said.
“If journals don’t realize that and don’t integrate a certain patient focus then they run the risk of becoming irrelevant.”
Now, others with an interest in researching the impact of social media on health care can have the opportunity to use Symplur Signals.
The Los Angeles-based health care social media analytics company, along with Stanford Medicine X, are welcoming proposals for their third annual contest until March 1 at 5 p.m.
Larry Chu, MD, MS, executive director of Stanford Medicine X, called the challenge “an important initiative to spur further scientific research in this important emerging area of science.”
“We want more eyes on this data,” said Audun Utengen, a co-founder of Symplur. “It’s remarkable what can be learned from it.”