A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine examined the use of social media platforms in relation to physicians' being informed on the proper use of antimicrobial agents, such as antibiotics.

Currently, 50 percent of the antibiotic used is considered to be inappropriate, as it leads to unfortunate consequences, among which are increased antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic toxicity.

Among the most pressing public health concerns at the moment remains the optimal use of antibiotics, and young medical residents are the target population that could significantly improve the education in this respect, along with good practices in the future.

Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs 

The study — conducted by Jennifer Pisano, M.D., and her colleagues, and published in the American Journal of Infection Control — found that social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, represent an efficient method when it comes to promoting antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs).

The study focused on the awareness aspect of the issue, especially among the younger residents, suggesting that social media encourages the use of ASP resources when it comes to informing residents.

The study was conducted in an urban, academic center with 616 beds representing adult as well as pediatric population. Participants were medical residents who were encouraged to take part in the program; those who were not already present on social media were advised to create an account in order to be active during the trial.

Tests On Facebook And Twitter

The tests were conducted through a Facebook and a Twitter page, and the internal medicine residents (IMRs) were asked to take part in quizzes and answer professional questions posted daily, on an average of 5 days a week. After performing the study, 98 percent of the IMRs were found to use Facebook and 58 percent were found to use Twitter.

Comparing the pre and post intervention, their median scores, when it comes to knowledge of antibiotics and the way they should be administered, registered an increase from 12 to 13.

Additionally, accessing the ASP website also increased from 70 percent of the IMRs to 94 percent; according to the study, most of the residents also used the pathways indicated in their answers in the proper treatments they were prescribing after taking the quizzes.

Optimization of information acquisition among younger experts in different domains requires the academic adaptation to their habitual activities. In this concern, social media is one of the most popular ways of spending free time for people aged 15 to 35, which makes social media an extraordinary educational tool, even in the more technical fields, such as medicine.

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