“Personal Learning Networks (PLN) provide more opportunities for research collaborations, a wider platform for policy and advocacy campaign, and an excellent venue to mentor and develop advocacy networks,” emphasized Dr. Jaifred Christian Lopez, Technical Consultant for the Alliance for Improving Health Outcomes (AIHO) in one of the six tracks during the 4th Healthcare and Social Media Summit held on 9 June 2018 in Davao City.
As described by Dr. Iris Thiele Isip-Tan, Director of the Medical Informatics Unit of the University of the Philippines-Manila, PLN is a network of trustworthy connections wherein an individual can gather, collect, communicate, create, and share knowledge and experience. During the event, Dr. Isip-Tan encouraged everyone to start PLNs by creating a Twitter account and start following notable people in their field of interest. She stressed that for PLN to be effective, one should be able to follow at least 200 persons as this number creates a steady stream of information and interaction. Dr. Isip-Tan said, “Participation in Twitter discussions is one of the keys for success. By participating in Tweetchats, which are live, moderated, and focused Twitter conversations, individuals end up connecting with other professionals of the same interests.”
In the context of global health, using social media such as Twitter in establishing PLNs helps bridge the distance of researchers, enables easier collaboration, information exchange, and partnerships. “Social media platforms such as Twitter allows health professionals discuss topics in health regardless of the distance,” said Dr. Lopez. As discussed by Dr. Lopez, social media features such as hashtags help collate data, opinions, and statements on health issues, provide users an in-depth look and give them more opportunities for research collaborations.
Live-tweeting, as an effective technique in developing PLNs, was discussed by Dr. Guinevere Dy-Agra of the Philippine College of Chest Physicians. She explained that live tweeting involves real-time posting of happenings, quotes, and information during events which allow event participants to share what they are currently learning to other people, help them focus better on the session, allow to retain information better, and strengthen participants’ network. “During a conference, collective discussion and social media coverage of a particular topic discussed helps immerse people who are not present there, and gives them personal takes and allows them to read first-hand experiences about the event,” stressed Dr. Agra.
With the support from the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, this year’s summit was organized in partnership with the #HealthXPh and AIHO. The summit is an annual gathering of healthcare professionals, patients, and health advocates to discuss the healthcare and social media and its impact to the country’s health system.
For more info on upcoming events and conferences by the Council, please visit http://www.pchrd.dost.gov.ph/ and http://www.healthresearch.ph/
Written by Reuben Andrew R. Razal