SAGES Foregut Surgery Masters Program: a surgeon’s social media resource for collaboration, education, and professional development
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Facebook is a popular online social networking platform increasingly used for professional collaboration. Literature regarding use of Facebook for surgeon professional development and education is limited. The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) has established a Facebook group dedicated to discussion of surgery of the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine—the “SAGES Foregut Surgery Masters Program.” The aim of this study is to examine how this forum is used for professional development, education, and quality improvement.
Member and post statistics were obtained from https://grytics.com, a Facebook group analytics service. All posts added to the Foregut forum since its creation in April 2015 through December 2016 were reviewed and categorized for content and topic. Posts were reviewed for potential identifiable protected health information.
As of December 2016, there were 649 total members in the group. There have been a total of 411 posts and 4116 comments with a median of 10.1 comments/post (range 0–72). Posts were categorized as operative technique (64%), patient management (52%), continuing education (10%), networking (10%), or other (6%). Video and/or photos were included in 53% of posts with 4% of posts depicting radiologic studies and 13% with intraoperative photos or videos. An additional 40 posts included links to other pages, such as YouTube, journal articles, or the SAGES website. One post (0.2%) contained identifiable protected health information and was deleted once recognized by the moderators of the group.
Social media is a unique, real-time platform where surgeons can learn, discuss, and collaborate towards the goal of optimal treatment of surgical disease. Active online surgical communities such as the SAGES Foregut Surgery Masters Program have the potential to enhance communication between surgeons and are a potential innovative adjunct to traditional methods of continuing surgical education. Surgical societies should adopt and promote professional and responsible use of social media.
KeywordsFacebook Surgical education Social media Web 2.0 Collaboration SAGES
Compliance with ethical standards
Dr. Wright is an administrator of the Facebook group studied in this research, and all authors are participants in the group. Dr. Wright is also co-chair of the SAGES Communications committee, which has partial oversight over the group. Hope T. Jackson, Monica T. Young, H. Alejandro Rodriguez, and Andrew S. Wright have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose with regard to this work.
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