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Med Teach. 2013 Oct;35(10):847-57. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2013.804909. Epub 2013 Jul 10.

The use of social-networking sites in medical education.

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  • 1Yorkshire School of Paediatrics , UK.



A social-network site is a dedicated website or application which enables users to communicate with each other and share information, comments, messages, videos and images.


This review aimed to ascertain if "social-networking sites have been used successfully in medical education to deliver educational material", and whether "healthcare professionals, and students, are engaging with social-networking sites for educational purposes".


A systematic-review was undertaken using the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. Eight databases were searched with pre-defined search terms, limits and inclusion criteria. Data was extracted into a piloted data-table prior to the narrative-synthesis of the Quality, Utility, Extent, Strength, Target and Setting of the evidence.


1047 articles were identified. Nine articles were reviewed with the majority assessing learner satisfaction. Higher outcome measures were rarely investigated. Educators used Facebook, Twitter, and a custom-made website, MedicineAfrica to achieve their objectives.


Social-networking sites have been employed without problems of professionalism, and received positive feedback from learners. However, there is no solid evidence base within the literature that social-networking is equally or more effective than other media available for educational purposes.

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