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Radiologist network: Various ways social media can supplement professional development

Mach, Kaylee
Jamal, Leila
Faraaji, Navid
Introduction: The use of social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, has become increasingly prevalent among healthcare providers for professional purposes. Therefore, identifying how social media can become supplemental for professional development is crucial for optimizing its impact for medical professionals. In this study, we aim to understand the diverse applications of social media within the field of radiology.
Methods/Materials: A literature search was conducted using the search engine Pubmed including the words “Radiology and Social media''. A plethora of articles populated, with nearly 826 published studies. We selectively reviewed twenty-one articles published from 2016 and onward, to display a roadmap on how diverse social media has been in the field of radiology.
Results: According to Patel et al., 65% of physicians use social media for professional use, of which 85% are radiologists. Koontz et al. reports up to 77% of internal medicine residents and up to 89% of medical students use social media as a free educational resource. Furthermore, the RANSOM survey investigated specifically how radiologists are using social media. The reported 63% of radiologists use social media to stay informed about the latest news and developments within the field, while 66% used it to communicate with colleagues about radiology related topics. In contrast, only 3% were intending to discuss image findings as a means for patient education. However Hawkins et al. urges radiologists to increase their publicity as a speciality to better educate patients on their role as up to 85% of patients were found unaware that radiologists are physicians. This study demonstrated that journals with Twitter profiles had higher Impact Factors than those without profiles (mean, 3.37 vs 2.14; P < .001). Larger number of followers was correlated with a higher Impact Factor (R2. 0.581, P .029).
Conclusions: Social media has been harnessed by the medical community to increase professional camaraderie in numerous aspects. More specifically, radiologists commonly use their social media platforms to access the latest advancements in the field and communicate with colleagues. With 65% of radiologists using social media as a professional outlet, it is important to recognize its varying benefits for students and patients who read their content. For students interested in seeking a career in radiology, social media can offer them educational resources, mentorship opportunities, and a digital presence that can serve to build professional relationships. By exploring the profiles of healthcare providers, patients can also gain valuable insight into physician roles. With these applications in mind, social media can be utilized in medical communities to provide individuals with a clearer understanding of their field and resources for those actively interested in pursuing radiology as a career.