When Paul Sufka, MD, a rheumatologist with HealthPartners Medical Group and Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., wants to connect with his colleagues or keep abreast of the latest rheumatology journal articles, he turns to Twitter.
Explore this issueApril 2018
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Dr. Sufka is one of many rheumatologists who have found effective ways to incorporate social media into their medical practice. According to the 2017 Kantar Media’s Medical Surgical Sources and Interactions Survey, 47% of physicians (14% of rheumatologists) overall surveyed, said they had posted, followed or communicated with colleagues or professional social networks in the previous 30 days via a computer or mobile device.1
Although other social media platforms exist, including Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, Dr. Sufka says many physicians are turning to Twitter, an online community that boasts more than 328 million active users. Dr. Sufka says Twitter provides a platform on which rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals can stay up to date on research, participate in scheduled Twitter chats and connect with other physicians around the world who share their interests. Accounts can also be kept private if a physician prefers to do so.
“I first realized how much of an impact social media could have on my professional life when I met a number of rheumatology colleagues that I had become vaguely acquainted with over Twitter at the ACR’s Tweet-Up gathering,” Dr. Sufka says. “Making these connections led to many unique opportunities, such as launching The Rheumatology Podcast and the Rheumatology Journal Club on Twitter (#RheumJC).”
In addition to getting 50–60% of his rheumatology updates via Twitter, Dr. Sufka says Twitter provides a venue for many rheumatologists to network online. He oversees #RheumJC, launched in 2015 by a group of rheumatologists, including Chris Collins, MD, associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical School and the director of the Rheumatology Fellowship Program for the Medstar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., Suleman Bhana, MD, a rheumatologist in private practice in New York, Aruni Jayatilleke, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine, and associate program director for the rheumatology fellowship program, Jonathan Hausmann, MD, a pediatric and adult rheumatology fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Isabelle Amigues, MD, a rheumatologist at the National Jewish Health Center in Denver.
“We typically have a one-hour online session on the last Thursday of each month, which leads to great discussions,” Dr. Sufka says. “We frequently invite one of the authors of the paper we’re discussing to join in and answer any questions, which has proved to be extremely valuable.”