VIDEO: Social media has been a ‘life saver’ during COVID-19 pandemic
In this video exclusive, Anita Afzali, MD, MPH, FACG, Aline Charabaty, MD and David T. Rubin, MD, highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic changed the use of social media.
Afzali, from the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at The Ohio State University, won the Social Media Innovator award in 2020, one of several Disruptive Innovator awards given by Healio Gastroenterology to physicians pushing the status quo toward the betterment of gastroenterology and liver diseases. Charabaty, from the John Hopkins School of Medicine won the award in 2019 and Rubin, from the University of Chicago, in 2018.
Afzali said social media has created a global community and has kept all gastroenterologists together. She said social media has been a platform for GIs to discuss research, share collaborations and best practices, and more.
“It’s been able to help us navigate through these challenges together, to learn from each other,” Afzali said.
Charabaty said Twitter and other forms of social media acted as a ‘life saver’ for many physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic. With social media, physicians could keep not only themselves but their patients up to date with the latest information on COVID, she said.
With social media, physicians were able to find misinformation about the pandemic. According to Charabaty, this highlighted the importance of physicians being on social media, where their patients are.
Rubin said many physicians who were originally not on social media turned to social media during the pandemic. He said Twitter highlighted reputable sources that provided information on COVID-19. He said social media was a form of escape for many people.
“As we turned to our computers and our devices in order to meet with one another for professional reasons, to gather information, to continue our businesses — when we turned to our electronic devices to try to provide medical care, to communicate with our patients and for patents to communicate with their health care teams — they were working with their devices, they were online more often and it lent itself naturally for people to look to social media to start understanding how they might add to what they were already doing online,” Rubin said.