Cheston, C. C., Flickinger, T. E., & Chisolm, M. S. (2013). Social media use in medical education: a systematic review. Academic Medicine, 88(6), 893-901.
The authors of this article, conducted a systematic review of social media use in medical education specifically how social media affected out comes of satisfaction, knowledge, attitudes, and skills and challenges and opportunities that arose from these interventions. Out of 928 articles initially found in their search, they narrowed their results down to 14 articles that met their inclusion criteria. While this is a small amount, it points to the need for more research on this topic. They found that the biggest challenge was technical issues, which is common amongst early inclusion of technology based programs in education. They also found that no study reported professionalism or privacy issues.
In my opinion, the main strength of this study was that it was simply done. There is not much research out there on social media uses in medical education and as they state in the article, it will catch up eventually and medical educators will be behind. They used very broad terms and went through hundreds of article to best narrow their articles to study to those that fit their model. Blogs are very useful but need to be maintained and run efficiently and as the authors note, were the most commonly used amongst the 14 studies.
While I agree that there are significant limitations with the systematic review, I believe that more work needs to be done in this field and this study showing that they found only 14 reviews is a good turning point for the idea of social media in medical education. For the courses that I administer, students cannot function without technology but integrating more than just the basic BlackBoard or email systems is crucial with keeping up with the times. There are lots of apps related to medical education that have been produced but have not been widely used among medical educators. Simply producing PowerPoints and speaking in large group instruction rooms does not work like it used to, students expect different instruction styles that fit how they function in everyday life, high technology based.