Journal of Surgical Simulation 2016; 3: A: 1 - 1

Published: 25 February 2016


Oral presentation

Special Issue: Web 2.0: social media and the changing face of healthcare

Helgi Johannsson
Corresponding author: Helgi Johannsson, Imperial College Healthcare, London, UK. Email:


In the last 10 years social media has transformed the way we live. It has altered the way we read newspapers, invite people to events, meet potential partners, and interact with our friends, and the public at large. Similarly, healthcare is being transformed by social media - how we communicate with professionals, with patients, and with the public is changing.

The opportunities and pitfalls in the world of Twitter and Facebook are discussed. How these platforms can be used to improve communication, debate and training, while keeping our patient information confidential is explored. Social media channels are becoming integral to conferences and allow interaction from those not attending in person, using the conference hashtag; in question and answer sessions, questions can be selected from Twitter submissions. An example of a blog discussing an adverse event is used to show that sharing information by social media can reach a much wider audience much faster than a journal article. Social media has been instrumental so far in the way junior doctors have campaigned over the new contract.

Patients will increasingly use social media to interact with healthcare professionals and institutions, and vice versa. Most medical organisations and hospitals are now using social media. The General Medical Council has added guidance on use of social media to its good medical practice guidelines.


social media; healthcare; innovation; education

Additional Information

This presentation was given at the Fifth Annual Homerton Simulation Conference: Innovations in Healthcare, Patient Safety and Simulation, Homerton University Hospital, London, UK, on 10 December 2015.

Conflicts of interest: none declared.