Friday, 13 December 2013

Social media as part of a new professionalism : #GMCConf

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Two years ago I attended a GMC education conference in the London. The conference had no hashtag so I and some others decided to use #GMCEd11 . The GMC didn't have their @gmcuk account at that time but they did have a @gooddoctoruk account launched around the time of initial consultation on the updating of Good Medical Practice. Altogether there were just over 300 tweets made on the day and about half of those were by me. Most of this activity probably bypassed those who were attending except when I had a chance to ask a question to an afternoon panel on behalf of Alastair McLellan, editor of the Health Services Journal. Alastair had posed the question to me in a tweet. I remember a frisson of laughter that a question was coming via twitter and I think that it was Fergus Walsh who joked that at least 140 characters created  usefully brief and succinct questions.

Fast forward to 2013 and the first national GMC conference on 'Medical professionalism : whose job is it anyway?' is held today in Manchester with 400 attendees- over 50% of them medical students and jobbing doctors, but with other stakeholders including patients well represented. There is an official conference hashtag #gmcconf and it is used more than 1500 times today. Throughout the day there is reference to taking questions from tweets and no-one seems to be in any way surprised.

I make about 1/2 the tweets I do at the last event, in part because this time I was giving a lunch-time seminar with Gareth Williams from the GMC office in Cardiff on the social media in practice. A strong conference theme is the nature of professionalism in a post Berwick and Francis report world and so my part of the session focussed on how social media is being used to drive improvement and ensure patient safety by doctors in the UK today.

10 reasons why any doctor should explore social media

I concentrated on a few stories - Elin Roddy's experiences of learning and reflecting in social media which lead to her taking on the role of lead for End of Life care in her trust ; raising patient safety through openness and transparency of sharing the #Wrongfooted storify ; NHS Change Day ; the FOAMed initiatives of ECGClass, Gasclass and TeamHaem ; and Kate Granger's #HelloMyNameIs campaign.

A few years ago I was not confident that I could justify urging every doctor to explore social media. But it is now beyond doubt that some of the most innovative, creative and transformative conversations about improving the care of and with our patients are happening within social media.

We must ask ourselves what we can do to help our colleagues and students be part of these conversations.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Reflections from #DotMed13

The last year has been very good for meeting great people. I first met Irish rheumatologist Ronan Kavanagh in Dublin in this year. That was in February when Shane O'Hanlon got us both to take part in a pre-conference workshop on social media at INMED (the annual scientific meeting of the Irish Network of Medical Educators). Next we met as a rheumatology conference in the UK- this time brought together by Philip Gardiner.

We Banjo 3 at #dotmed13
Last week I was back in Dublin for #dotmed13 - a conference curated by Ronan and Muiris Houston, a GP and medical journalist. It was a fascinating event. I ruminated this morning that it was like #med2 ( a tech driven conference) meets #mu13voice (medicine unboxed- a conference that seeks to explore ' a view of medicine that exceeds the technical' - Alexa Miller had similar thoughts in her blog post about the day and I think she explains it a lot better than me.

So at #dotmed13 we had banjo music and some of the most powerful storytelling I have ever heard- Jordan Grumet told some of the stories he tells in his blog of how medicine broke him and how he got back together again. Architect Ed Gavagan told us how life had broke him but how he got life back together again - helped in no small part by the bartender who took the time too listen when others didn't - and who eventually became his wife. I see many patients who have not been through exactly what Ed experienced but they have been unlucky and experienced hard and tragic lives. I must find the time to listen to them.

And after watching Alexa Miller speak at the Millenium Medicine conference in Texas earlier this year (it was live-streamed- I was at home in Cardiff- and it's well worth catching the video here) I was really excited about taking part in her workshop on how exploring art works could expand our creative approaches to medicine. She couldn't really stop us talking about Picasso's 'Girl before a mirror'!

Of course we had the techy stuff too. Lucian Engelen could not fly to Dublin because of bad weather but wowed us all by taking a picture of the audience through Google Glass from the Netherlands!  It was a great pleasure to finally meet Berci Mesko and Bryan Vartebedian who I have known for years through their blogs and twitter. They were both talking about their visions of the future of healthcare and the part that doctors would play in it. Medical student Mahmood Mirza and recent graduate Alan Corbett talked about social media and medical education- and presented a very balanced view of what students see as the pros and cons.

My own presentation revisited an idea about 10 reasons for a social media presence. In the past my orientation had been medical education alone- but I was able to share some great examples which I think make it reasonable for me to say that any doctor should explore social media. You can find the slides below.

Why does a twittering doctor tweet? - 10 reasons for a social media presence from Anne Marie Cunningham

If you get a chance to go to a conference like #dotmed13 then go. 

#1carejc - Primary Care Journal Club

This was an idea that started last summer- why don't we have an online primary care journal club? #twitjc - Twitter journal club is still going strong, but we always had the idea that wanted to try something different and try different forms of social media. A few weeks ago I spoke to Peter Sloane, an Irish GP, on google plus and he mentioned that he wanted to explore the potential of G+ for education so I suggested that #1carejc would be a great thing to try and get going.

We picked a paper on osteopathy in primary care that was suggested by David Lewis a few weeks before his death last summer. On our panel we had primary care researcher Ceri Butler who has also lived with chronic back pain for many years. Joining us from Australia was Karen Price, an Australian GP and educationalist who knew David Lewis well. I was just off the train from Cardiff to Manchester. Unfortunately we couldn't get Prof John Licciardione, the 1st author of the paper to join  the conversation- but we hope to catch up with him again.

Was it a success? Well yes, we had a good discussion about the context of this research on back pain- the experience of GPs and of patients. We had a little bit of time to discuss the research itself but we were missing the voice of the researcher. Our teething technical problems limited the amount of time we had to discuss the paper but it was only ever intended that the google plus hangout should be one part of a wider discussion about the research topic.

We hope that the discussion can continue in the google plus community we have started. And that the videos will be a resource that people can look back on. We'd appreciate any feedback you have especially if you can leave it in the google plus community.

So here it is! Skip the 1st part (technical mishaps) and start at about 27 mins in - or even at 32 mins in when Ceri starts speaking very powerfully about her experiences.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Confessions of a Lazy Blogger....

Terminal 2 Dublin Airport

I'm just back from a lovely weekend in Ireland. I had the chance to speak at #DotMed13 (of which more later) and also to travel up North to see my family. On Friday night we went out for dinner after the conference and Berci was telling me that hos definition of a lazy blogger was one who didn't post twice a week. By this reckoning I have always been a lazy blogger. Since I've started my blog I've averaged just over 30 posts a year -a few posts a month rather than each week.

I aim to write when I have something to share. So has there been less to share in the past year? No, there has probably been just as much as in the other years but I haven't been giving as much time to doing that as I should have been. So by my definition I have been a lazy blogger and I aim to try and make it up before the end of the year.

Year ends are always good for reflection so I'll try and make sure that I end the year having got many more of the things I have been thinking about and experiencing down on paper in html.