Healthcare Blog of Dr. Remo Aguilar

Social media in healthcare education, inclusion or just distraction?

in Social Media by

Social media is pervasive, even in healthcare. As an early adopter, I witnessed how social media went mainstream as it integrates into our lives. I’ve also been a witness to the many challenges and opportunities social media presents as it slowly encroaches into the silos of our daily lives.

My struggle though is not always about social media integration or the technical skills needed to do so. I have have always been preoccupied on how social media could or should enhance my learning- to reflective thinking rather than just information, knowledge more than opinion and in healthcare, clinical and patient skills rather than textbook regurgitations.

In #HealthXPh, we’ve previously discussed why social media is of value to healthcare. We’ve tackled how social media is used as a tool to enhance education and build interactivity to our traditional learning styles. Social media has shown promise in areas  collaborative learning using user generated materials while creating meaningful engagements in the healthcare sector.

There are stinging questions to the value social media in educating healthcare or would be healthcare professionals. Would incorporating social media in healthcare education really improve the knowledge, attitudes, values and skills, of future healthcare professionals?

There were studies that tries to understand the challenges and opportunities of  incorporating healthcare social media in their medical curriculum. But the “infancy” of social media and the lack of rigorous controlled studies eludes a clear answer at this moment. The answer to these questions ( if ever it could be answered) may be found in the next generation of healthcare professionals.

In spite these issues, healthcare institutions abroad began incorporating healthcare social media in their learning curriculum. In the Philippines, social media healthcare is not in any medical or healthcare curriculum. Why? Why are current healthcare students taking social media seriously?

When asked, most nursing and medical students would answer, “I have no time for such”.  If it’s not included in the curriculum we’re not going to spend time learning it. Surely if our medical educators didn’t include it in our curriculum, they probably didn’t find any value for it in our education” .

I’m not an expert in healthcare education, but I do understand the problems besetting an institution in training future healthcare professionals. Identifying what’s important to the KAVS learning of healthcare students is difficult enough, incorporating a complex, learning resource such as social media doesn’t make it easier, at least to most healthcare educators that I know. It would take a generation of physicians to find that out.

I have a balance of views regarding inclusion of social media in the healthcare curriculum. But, if we don’t bring the discussion now, we may never find out in the next generation of healthcare professionals.

Join us this Saturday August 8, 2015 9PM as we discuss the value of healthcare social media in medical education. Is it a distinction or just a distraction?

  • T1: Should healthcare social media be included in medical/healthcare curriculum? Why or why not?
  • T2: What are the challenges and opportunities in incorporating social media in our healthcare curriculum?
  • T3. How do you measure the impact of incorporating social media into the healthcare professional’s education?

As a closing thought (CT) please give an area in the education of future healthcare professionals, where social media has the most / least impact.


McGowan BS, Wasko M, Vartabedian BS, Miller RS, Freiherr DD, Abdolrasulnia M
Understanding the Factors That Influence the Adoption and Meaningful Use of Social Media by Physicians to Share Medical Information
J Med Internet Res 2012;14(5):e117
DOI: 10.2196/jmir.2138
PMID: 23006336
PMCID: PMC3510763

Kind T, Genrich G, Sodhi A, Chretien KC. Social media policies at US medical schools. Medical Education Online. 2010;15:10.3402/meo.v15i0.5324. doi:10.3402/meo.v15i0.5324.

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is Chief of Clinics at General Santos Medical Center and Medical Specialist II Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (

Latest from Social Media

Go to Top
%d bloggers like this: