As cardiovascular science marches forward, certainly demonstrated at the ACC.13 Annual Scientific Session, so too does the way technology is used to expand communication. Innovation has changed the way we practice medicine—witness TAVR, the use of LVAD and the emergence of new pharmacology for the betterment of our patient care—and similarly, innovation has forever altered the way we locate and consume the latest science and education reports as well as how we share education information with patients. This weekend, smart phones and tablets dominated the hallways of the convention center at ACC.13. While many attendees were using their devices to browse sessions and plan their schedules using the ACC.13 eMeeting Planner app, thousands of others, myself included, were using them to soak up as much knowledge as possible. With hundreds of events taking place in three separate buildings, it was impossible to be at every session that sounded interesting. The ACC’s meeting Twitter account (@ACC_2013) was my go-to source for everything that was happening in San Francisco, allowing me to follow thought leaders from across the spectrum of cardiology, each reporting, in real time, updates from a variety of venues including late breaking clinical trials, esoteric sessions on orphan diseases and impromptu FIT meetings with giants of cardiology. I wasn’t alone. The hashtag #ACC13 has been used more than 4,500 times by nearly 1,200 people and still counting. That makes ACC.13 the most “connected” meeting to date with more than 5 million impressions worldwide.
On Saturday, I shared my personal experience with the use of social media in medicine during a presentation in ACC Central. In my hectic daily life, I take advantage of Twitter to get the most up-to-date information —from clinical to health policy to world news—delivered to the palm of my hand, enabling me to be the most informed physician I can be. It’s also helped me discover and innovate, adapting other cutting-edge tools and resources to my benefit. This in turn helps me better serve my patients and run a more successful practice.
Just because ACC.13 is a wrap, doesn’t mean social media will fade into the background. One out of every seven minutes spent online is on Facebook and there are 340 million tweets sent each day. Surprisingly, while only 19 percent of cardiologists believe social media channels are very or extremely effective for sharing insight on medical news, research, developments and treatments, there has been a rapid uptick in engagement across ACC’s suite of social media channels. At this stage in the game, it’s clear that social media is here to stay and I encourage all of you to get on board to become more informed, well-rounded clinicians.
If you would like to experiment with knowledge acquisition via social media, it’s safe and easy. Simply log on to twitter, make an account and look me up at @DavidMayMD. Click the “follow” button and all my tweets will be delivered to your account. I tweet articles and commentary on a wide array of topics, essentially functioning as a sort of organic Google search engine. You will immediately sense the potential of thousands of us, linked together in cyberspace, each day searching our own interests, finding nuggets of value, then communicating about those interests in real time. And besides, your kids will think you’re cool.