How Facebook can improve critical care ultrasound education

With no standard way to teach critical care ultrasound (CCUS) to physicians, researchers from the University of Southern California have found that social media may be the answer, the American College of Chest Physicians reported on Oct. 3.  

Utilizing a social media platform such as Facebook to teach CCUS is comparable to that of a typical learning environment, according to researchers who found that half of study participants reported that being in a CCUS Facebook group enhanced their education and motivated them to learn more about the skill.  

Volunteers participants—fellows from the University of Southern California pulmonary and critical care department—were included in the study and provided with a typical CCUS curriculum and a pre-knowledge and skills assessment. The fellows completed the assessment, participated in a two-day hands-on bootcamp and were invited to join a private CCUS Facebook group.  

The Facebook group provided the participants with 41 skills divided into five systems and delivered over a 20-week period. Facebook posts included quizzes, cases, images, movies, questions and weblinks to articles. The researchers measured the platform analytics including the traffic, number of views and overall time usage. 

Almost half of the fellows participated in the Facebook group, with three first-year, four second-year and to third-year fellows. The average number of posts viewed was 24 out of 41 posts, almost all fellows responded to the post intervention survey, 44 percent shared that they would participate in a Facebook education group again, 56 percent said that the Facebook group enhanced their CCUS education and 44 percent stated that it motivated them to learn more about CCUS.  

“We believe that Facebook is a viable method for implementing a CCUS curriculum,” said lead author Shiqian Li, PhD in a prepared statement. “The fact that most of the fellows stated that the content was useful and had enhanced their education and some of the fellows stated that it motivated them to learn more further shows that Facebook and social media may be a beneficial adjunct for different types of learners." 

The research will be presented at the CHEST Annual Meeting 2018 in San Antonio on Monday, Oct. 8.