by: Pallavi A. Patil, MD, Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology Fellow, Yale University
Introduction to Social Media (#SoMe) in Pathology
Engagement of pathologists on social media has had a domino effect. It seems to be getting bigger, involving more pathologists while encouraging greater interaction and more collaboration across institutes and different countries. The impact can be seen in many ways. The interactions with a patient’s and their kin on social media highlights the importance of interaction of pathologists with the patient population. Social media provides a way to educate concerning disease, as well as bringing awareness concerning the role of pathology in medical science. The engagement of pathologists in live tweets at the USCAP 2015 was revolutionary in that it highlighted the social side of pathologists and their enthusiasm of getting more engaged with each other. The interaction between practicing pathologists, academic faculty, and trainees on social media leading to international collaboration projects shows the immense utility and has led to contributions to our scientific literature as well as educational opportunities for trainees.
Achievements of Social Media in Pathology
As more pathologists become involved in #SoMe, we have arrived at a true #SoMe pathology community! The pathology tweeples (TWitter pEEPLE) share interesting cases with educational messages, discuss pitfalls and potential further research opportunities on entities that still have unanswered questions. One such study got accepted as a platform presentation – #EBUSTwitter, a multi-institutional international collaboration that is looking at post endobronchial ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration changes in lymph nodes. Another interesting case of crystal-storing histiocytosis and its association with lymphoma was brought to attention by #SoMe interactions on a case. The #PathJC (Pathology Journal Club) twitter online journal club discusses important articles weekly, wherein the pathology tweeples come together to discuss the take away messages, further research questions and clinical applications of current published research and educational articles.
A significant number of interesting cases, educational nuggets, articles, images, opportunities are shared on #SoMe. Quite a few pathology departments, organizations, regional societies have #SoMe presence and regularly post updates on educational and advocacy activities. A significant amount of activity is sharing of interesting cases and exchange of information between pathologists and trainees on #SoMe. Some interesting cases receive upwards of 10,000 impressions, highlighting the utility of image sharing on #SoMe in education and awareness.
The Educational Pathology Tweet Award
The Educational Pathology Tweet Award endeavor started as an annual award from the year 2018 (January to December) in order to provide recognition to the most educational pathology tweets of the year, to encourage and acknowledge the pathology tweeples sharing knowledge and interesting cases in educating each other worldwide. The awards for the educational pathology tweets for the year are announced early in the following year. Tweeple pathologists were invited to volunteer to be a part of the team of judges including trainees and practicing pathologists.
The interest generated by the pathology tweet award will also lead to greater engagement and exchange of knowledge as well as evaluation of tweets for the academic significance, and take home messages. We also hope the generated interest will lead to more pathologists joining the twitter movement.
The annual pathology tweet award is an ongoing, and submissions are encouraged to be self or peer nominated on twitter by the hashtag #PathTweetAward.
Digital Pathology and #SoMe
The ability to view slides digitally has enabled pathologists to deliver slide sessions on YouTube via channels like PathCast. Social media channels like YouTube, Periscope, Facebook are increasingly being utilized by pathologists to deliver live lectures and by pathology organizations to broadcast live panel discussions, and lectures.
Disclaimer: In seeking to foster discourse on a wide array of ideas, the Digital Pathology Association believes that it is important to share a range of prominent industry viewpoints. This article does not necessarily express the viewpoints of the DPA, however we view this as a valuable point with which to facilitate discussion.