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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 362-365

Social media in medical education

Department of Community Medicine, Katuri Medical College and Hospital, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Submission10-Jul-2021
Date of Decision31-Mar-2022
Date of Acceptance03-Apr-2022
Date of Web Publication17-Mar-2023

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sai Sreevalli Sharma Sreepada
Department of Community Medicine, Katuri Medical College, Guntur - 522019, Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jdrntruhs.jdrntruhs_97_21

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Context: Although the traditional methods of medical education have proven to be of utmost value, exploring the new aspects of today's millennial generation is essential to move forward and gain knowledge.
Aims: To provide insight into students' perspectives about the availability, accessibility, and utility of social media in medical education. To understand the impact of social media on medical education postpandemic.
Methods and Material: After obtaining clearance from the institutional ethical committee, a semi-structured questionnaire with open and closed-ended questions related to social media and medical education was created and circulated randomly to medical students, interns, and medical graduates through various online groups. The study was conducted for a month in December 2020, and the responses obtained were analyzed.
Statistical analysis used: Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Software 25.0 (IBM).
Results: A total of 415 responses were recorded. A total of 99.3% of the students owned a smartphone, and 15.9% mainly utilized it for educational purposes. A total of 89.4% of the students didn't solely rely on the information from the internet. A total of 80% of the students only plan to use social media as supplementary aids. A total of 57.6% of the students found video content most informative, and 49.2% found social media interactive. A total of 80.5% of the students have agreed that social media has enabled studying during the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Conclusions: The study suggests that students perceive judicious use of social media as an advantageous addition to the present learning patterns of medical education. The deleterious effects of it can be reduced by productive usage. The recent pandemic encouraged students to use social media for learning.

Keywords: Medical education, pandemic, social media, students

How to cite this article:
Karumanchi AB, Sharma Sreepada SS, Dulipala P. Social media in medical education. J NTR Univ Health Sci 2022;11:362-5

How to cite this URL:
Karumanchi AB, Sharma Sreepada SS, Dulipala P. Social media in medical education. J NTR Univ Health Sci [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Mar 21];11:362-5. Available from: https://www.jdrntruhs.org/text.asp?2022/11/4/362/371766

  Introduction Top

Social media, the result of a constantly evolving world, is defined as interactive computer/internet-based technologies, enabling the creation or sharing of information and other forms of expression via virtual communities.[1]

The objectives of this study were to provide students' perspective about social media in medical education and understand its impact on education postpandemic.

Many social media platforms that are available nowadays provide counsel and peer support along with knowledge.

Although social media is a constructivist tool facilitating participative learning, it is often looked down because of its distractions. But with proper use, the effectiveness of traditional methods can be augmented immensely.

  Subjects and Methods Top

This was a cross-sectional study done using a semi-structured questionnaire containing a set of open-ended and closed-ended questions related to demography, social media, and medical education. After obtaining clearance for the institutional ethical committee, the questionnaire was then circulated through social media platforms to a random group of medical students from first through final years, interns, and graduates. The study was conducted in the month of December. This study group of medical students of various colleges was selected so as to understand their perception of social media in education. The answers received were then compiled together in MS EXCEL and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Software 25.0 (IBM).

  Results Top

A total of 415 responses were received. The majority of the respondents (82.2%) lived in an urban area, and a total of 99.3% of these respondents owned a smartphone [Figure 1]. 39% of the total respondents were final year medical students, 27% were third-year medical students, 11.3% were first-year medical students, 9.2% were second-year medical students, 7.5% were interns, and 6% were graduates [Figure 2].
Figure 1: Percentage of smartphone owners

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Figure 2: Respondents year of study

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The majority of the respondents had social media accounts on various platforms. Most of these (89.2%) respondents used their accounts regularly, whereas a few (10.8%) of them used it only in cases of emergency. A total of 66.3% of the respondents mainly used their accounts for entertainment, 15.9% for education, 13.7% for interaction, and 4.1% ended up procrastinating [Figure 3].
Figure 3: Purpose of social media usage

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The apps used for the above purposes as stated by the students were Instagram (55.7%), YouTube (28.2%), and other applications like Quora, Facebook, Telegram (16.1%) [Figure 3].

For educational purposes, the respondents stated YouTube channels, Wikipedia, Instagram pages, and online teaching platforms as their main sources. In addition to the information available on the internet, the majority of the respondents (89.4%) verified with textbook information, whereas 10.6% solely relied on the information obtained from the internet [Figure 4].
Figure 4: Representation of usage of various applications

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A total of 49.6% agreed that the usage of social media increased, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic [Figure 5]. A total of 80.5% of the students responded that social media played a major role to continue with their academics during this pandemic.
Figure 5: Relation of social media use with COVID-19 pandemic

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The respondents found video content (57.6%), medical memes (41%), online notes,(31.3%), clinical vignettes (21.2%), live sessions (20.5%), blogs (15.7%), and audio content (7%) highly informative [Figure 6].
Figure 6: Representation of highly informative content percentages

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A total of 49.2% of the students found social media to be interactive, whereas 45.3% never tried interacting on any platforms. The rest 5.5% of the students perceived social media as dismissive [Figure 7].
Figure 7: Representation of social media synergism

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A total of 80% of the students believed that books act as a primary source of information and did not wish to replace them with the information obtained on social media [Figure 8]. Few of our respondents (4.1%) were content creators, whereas the majority of them (95.9%) were viewers.
Figure 8: Percent of students relied on social media

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As stated by the students, only 28.7% of their faculty used social media for educational purposes before the pandemic. On the other hand, this usage increased to 49.6% during the pandemic. After the pandemic, 51.8% of the students felt the need for in-class medical teaching and learning methods, whereas 48.2% wanted to continue with online teaching methods. The majority of the students (68.7%) considered social media as a supplementary tool, 7.2% stated that it can replace the traditional ways of learning, whereas the others did not find it useful for their medical education [Figure 9].
Figure 9: Students' opinion on social media and education

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  Discussion Top

The main focus of this study was to provide insights into the students' perspectives about the availability, accessibility, and utility of social media in medical education. A total of 99.3% of the respondents have agreed to own a smartphone, which was similar to another study done in 2017 with a response of 96%.[2]

A study done by Latif et al.[3] found that 85% of their study population had smartphones. Similar was the result of our study (82.2%). A total of 89.2% of our study population owned a social media account similar to those recorded by a previous survey of the US physicians attending Mayo continuing medical education (CME) (89%).[4]

The majority of our respondents (66.3%) used social media for entertainment and found it distracting which was similar to that of a previous study where 82.5% used it for recreational purposes.[2] This was also similar to another study where 66% of students considered their smartphones a distraction.[5]

A previous study concluded that most educators used video streaming in social media for teaching purposes, which possibly explains the results of our study where students (57.6%) found video content highly informative.[6]

Responses in our study indicated that only 28.7% of the faculty used social media as their teaching methods, supported by an older study where very few educators (45%) used social media for teaching.[6]

According to a review article published by Marc Katz, the usage of social media in medical education has tremendously increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is also re-established in our study by 49.6% of the respondents.[7]

The majority of our students (68.7%) considered that social media was a supplementary tool for medical education similar to the results of a previous study by Latif et al.[3] A similar response was also found in the study by Tim Robinson where 84% believed that technology is useful for medical education.[8]

Based on the findings of our study, social media has played a major role in continuing medical education during the pandemic. It has shone a light on the utility of social media but further research and exploration are needed for the benefit of medical education.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Obar JA, Wildman S. Social media definition and the governance challenge: An introduction to the special issue. Telecommun Policy 2015;39:745-50.  Back to cited text no. 1
Gavali MY, Khismatrao DS, Gavali YV, Patil KB. Smartphone, the new learning aid amongst medical students. J Clin Diagn Res 2017;11:JC05-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
Latif MZ, Hussain I, Saeed R, Qureshi MA, Maqsood U. Use of smart phones and social media in medical education: Trends, advantages, challenges and barriers. Acta Inform Med 2019;27:133-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
Wang AT, Sandhu NP, Wittich CM, Mandrekar JN, Beckman TJ. Using social media to improve continuing medical education: A survey of course participants. Mayo Clin Proc 2012;87:1162-70.  Back to cited text no. 4
Wallace S, Clark M, White J. 'It's on my iPhone': Attitudes to the use of mobile computing devices in medical education, a mixed-methods study. BMJ Open 2012;2:e001099.  Back to cited text no. 5
Keenan ID, Slater JD, Matthan J. Social media: Insights for medical education from instructor perceptions and usage. MedEdPublish [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2021 Jun 21];7. Available from: https://www.mededpublish.org/manuscripts/1420.  Back to cited text no. 6
Katz M, Nandi N. Social media and medical education in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: Scoping review. JMIR Med Educ 2021;7:e25892.  Back to cited text no. 7
Robinson T, Cronin T, Ibrahim H, Jinks M, Molitor T, Newman J, et al. Smartphone use and acceptability among clinical medical students: A questionnaire-based study. J Med Syst 2013;37:9936.  Back to cited text no. 8


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7], [Figure 8], [Figure 9]


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