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Study days and events cancelled? Time for virtual networking and learning

17 March, 2020

Author: Stephen Moore, sonographer, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Covid-19 has caused scores of study days, conferences and events to be cancelled or postponed. But the appetite to learn and network is not diminished, and it is more important than ever to keep up with fast changing developments.

So, here are my favourite social media platforms and apps to help you keep on top of the latest professional information. 

Twitter

Twitter is the fastest moving social media platform. News programmes and professional bodies such as the Society often have stories on Twitter before the information hits any of their other channels.

As well as keeping up to date with your favourite celebrities, it can also be an amazing resource in a professional capacity. As well as the SCoR (@SCoRMembers), BMUS, the RCR, the World Health Organization, and BIR, all the major journals, universities and most senior lecturers, professors and healthcare professionals, use Twitter to share ideas, work and research.

They bounce ideas around, ask questions, post quizzes, and challenge their followers to push understanding and clinical practice to the next level.

For Covid-19 updates and signposting to resources, Twitter has really come into its own. For example, Elsevier, the publishers of Radiography journal, also produce The Journal of Hospital Infection, and shared an article with thousands of people instantly about the persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and inactivation with biocidal agents.

The European Society of Radiology set-up and advertised a free online live streamed lecture on Covid-19 with Professor Josef Penninger. Individual doctors were sharing their experiences of the virus, and some who were infected shared ‘Covid-19 Diaries’, documenting hour-by-hour, day-by-day their symptoms and, where available, their own imaging. Some had portable ultrasound units at home and where able to assess their levels of lung consolidation, plural thickening and effusions.

All of this information from high quality professionals was instantly available and disseminated, interrogated and debated.

Hashtags such as #FOAmed or #FOArad (Free Open Access Medicine, and Free Open Access Radiology) as well as #Radiography, #Radiology, #Ultrasound, #CT, and others are used to help share and locate ideas and work.

Researchgate

Researchgate is a free open access app and website where authors post recent articles, research ideas and work. You can follow projects, ask the author questions relating to their work, and if an article is unavailable elsewhere, message the author direct. A lot of articles that have been accepted for hard copy publication will be posted on Researchgate, which allows you to access the work without always having to subscribe to the publisher.

Figure1

Figure1 is an app for healthcare professionals to share interesting cases and imaging. Management ideas are discussed, quizzes are posted, and users are encouraged to go away and read around the cases presented.

This resource has helped professionals to increase their knowledge of Covid-19 and to help one another.

As a community and as a key part of the multidisciplinary team, we as radiographers should be exploring these fast, interactive ways of staying up to date.

Social media platforms and apps should be explored with caution, however. Only use established sources, known for providing trustworthy and credible content. The ability to access high quality information for CPD and to maintain excellent patient care has never been easier.

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