Social media for rapid knowledge dissemination: early experience from the COVID‐19 pandemic
A. K. M. Chan, C. P. Nickson, J. W. Rudolph, A. Lee G. M. Joynt
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The current COVID‐19 pandemic is threatening global health. Rates of infection outside of China are rapidly increasing, with confirmed cases reported in over 160 countries as of 19 March 2020. During the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic, 21% of the global cumulative case total were healthcare workers 2. However, a recent study from Wuhan, China reported that 1716 healthcare workers were infected with COVID‐19, representing 3.8% of confirmed cases. During the SARS epidemic, it is likely that a lack of awareness and preparedness put healthcare workers at risk. Thus, delivering rapid, reliable information that addresses critical infection control issues is of key importance, and tracheal intubation is known to be associated with a high risk of transmission of viral infections to healthcare workers. The challenge is how to transfer knowledge of current best practices to the people who need it most, at a pace equal to or better than the spreading epidemic. The paths for, and rate of dissemination of traditional scholarly publications, static websites and even email are known to be slow. During the SARS epidemic, worldwide internet access was well established, yet gaining access to potential medical users was largely reliant on email contact and personal communication. Well‐designed free open access educational material should distil key information in a clear, actionable format, while paired with social media–powered dissemination using social networks, in addition to traditional communication methods. Utilising social media in this way has shown promise as a speedier alternative. The use of the principles of the Free Open Access Medical education (FOAM) networks further provide good examples of the effectiveness of making information freely available. We describe an example of an efficient and rapidly disseminated infographic describing a practical intubation guideline for use in operating theatres and other critical care areas during a pandemic...