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Social Media Can Educate, Physicians Should Use, Says Haghighat

March 07, 2020
by Julie Parry

The March 5, 2020 Department of Internal Medicine Medical Grand Rounds “Social Media for Physicians: Benefits, Challenges, and Opportunities Ahead” was presented by Leila Haghighat, MD, MPhil, chief resident, Yale Traditional Internal Medicine.

Haghighat, inspired by her background in traditional news media to discuss this topic at Medical Grand Rounds, shared current data, advice, limitations, benefits, and challenges for physicians to consider before and while using social media.

“It is our imperative to be in the know. To know how social media works and our role within it,” explained Haghighat. “Certainly there are downsides, so can we use it? Should we use it? My answer to that is yes. Your patients are on social media and you should be too.”

She referred to social media as disruptive innovation, or technology that, in a short amount of time, has transformed medicine. While there are many social media platforms available for use, Haghighat focused her talk on the two largest ones, Facebook and Twitter, and explained the basics of using each platform.

While a majority of the general population uses social media, physician use is far less.

But, as Haghighat explained, a benefit of using social media is to educate the public, patients, and colleagues. She highlighted the current COVID-19 epidemic and how social media has played a role in spreading information, good and bad. She shared an example of how the World Health Organization’s current mythbusters campaign (#2019nCoV) is dispelling false information on social media outlets.

“Social media is here to stay and we need to get on it. I think what is most important is that when patients go on social media to find information about their health, they should be able to find credible information from medical experts.”

She concluded with tips and best practices for faculty who want to get started. To learn more about Haghighat’s presentation, review the video from yesterday’s Medical Grand Rounds.

To learn more about the Residency Training Programs within the Section of General Internal Medicine, visit Residency Training Programs.

Submitted by Julie Parry on March 07, 2020