Social Media WG Workshop Report

The IMIA Social Media WG held a successful workshop at MIE2011 on 30 August, 2011. An additional report will be provided on the SMWG website (, but below are a few observations.

The presenters (Peter Murray, Chris Paton, Margaret Hansen and Luis Luque) provided an overview of social media and Web 2.0, the background to and purpose of the WG, and some examples of the use of social media, including via mobile platforms such as iPad, from their own experiences and current activities and research.

The purpose of the workshop was mainly to raise discussion and questions; among the issues raised were
– how do we study/evaluate social media?
– why does social media matter to healthcare? what examples are thee of use at present?
– what types of tools might be needed – eg should there be a ‘wikipedia for health’? – or should we ‘ride the wave’ of current successful platforms and not try to reinvent the wheel?
– can we use social media to cut down time from research to publication? – eg move from ‘peer review’ to a crowd-sourced model?
– how do we define ‘success’ in terms of social media? – what if ‘low quality’ contributions get more views/hits than the high quality ones; is this ‘success’?
– information overload – how to deal with this whether we are patients or professionals? – how do we identify ‘quality’ especially when, for example, rating care and interaction with health professionals?

A follow-on panel will be presented at the Medicine 2.0’11 conference in Stanford, CA, USA in mid September. It will build on this discussion and explore these and other issues to develop the first stage of the research agenda or roadmap.

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