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MedEd Technology: Twitter

Written by Anna W · Wednesday 22nd January 2014

Recently, I made a short video about where I see the use of technology in MedEd (take a look), and when asked to write for Meducation, I thought it would be great to get people thinking about technology and its uses in medical school.

Social media – easy to use on smart phones, instant access to resources and thousands of likeminded people. Seems like a good place for medical education?

Uses Now

Students are often at the forefront of technology – we’ve grown up with it, and so many staff and lecturers within medical schools will be lagging. This makes it difficult to integrate technology into the curriculum, especially before technology has moved on. This is potentially why the use of twitter remains informal, and that may be its charm. By remaining informal, it means students can ask questions and get involved with hashtags without the constraints of marks and tests. Revision questions, mnemonics, diagrams and pictures are all over twitter, if you know where you’re looking.

Here’s my current list of useful people in medical education to follow, and the hashtags I’m following:


  • Easy and quick to set up an account
  • Thousands of medics around the world – ask questions, network and share resources
  • Can get involved as little or as much as you like


  • Mixing social life and education – medicine can already take over your life, do we really want to be thinking about it in our spare time? And do you want your lecturer to follow you?
  • Privacy – can only make full use of twitter with an open account
  • Getting students involved – many students don’t want twitter, so if it was to be used formally in education, there would have to be incentives

GMC advice on the use of social media can be found here.

People to follow Hashtags to follow
@knowmedge #quclms
@meducation #twitfrig
@twitfrg #FOAMed
@MedEdNcl #MedEd
@MedFinalsRev Content
@patientuk Content

I’ll update the list as it changes – leave a comment if you find anything good!

Future Uses

But can it be used in medical school? In my university, some lecturers put up a twitter feed, using the course name as a hashtag, where students ask questions without shouting out. The hashtag can be used after that, to ask questions and share relevant resources. I like this idea – but could it work in medical education? Maybe in early years it could be used in the same way, but once students are on placement it gets harder. While everyone is in different hospitals, it could be a good way to integrate learning, check students are meeting objectives and ask questions throughout to check understanding. Maybe its only use is announcements – “placement letters must be handed in by the 21st Jan”.

The other question is, how long can twitter last for? We’re already seeing a gradual decline in Facebook, so it may not be worth medical schools investing time and money into social media.

Are you on twitter? Do you keep it purely social or do you mix in medicine? Would you like to see your lecturers on board and tweeting you questions?

At the moment, I’m not too sure – I keep my twitter for medicine, answering the questions from @knowmedge, saving the mnemonics from @medfinalsrev, but I’m not sure how much I would get involved if my medical school used it officially…

Written by Anna Willis

Anna is a Medical Student at Sheffield University and is a Resident Blogger for Meducation

Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaPeerMedEd