Objective: To determine continuing medical education (CME) course participants' use of social media (SM) and their attitudes about the value of SM for enhancing CME education and to examine associations between participants' characteristics and attitudes toward SM.
Participants and methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey and validation study of 539 participants at a Mayo Clinic Internal Medicine CME course in November 2011. The Social Media Use and Perception Instrument (SMUPI) consisted of 10 items (5-point Likert scales) and categorical response options. The main outcome measures were psychometric characteristics of the SMUPI scale, course participants' use of SM, and their attitudes regarding the importance of SM for enhancing CME.
Results: Of 539 CME course participants, 327 (61%) responded to the SMUPI survey. Most respondents (291 [89%]) reported using SM, with the most common types being YouTube (189 of the 327 participants [58%]) and Facebook (163 of 327 [50%]). Factor analysis revealed a 2-dimensional assessment of course participants' attitudes. Internal consistency reliability (Cronbach α) was excellent for factor 1 (0.94), factor 2 (0.89), and overall (0.94). The CME course participants' favorable attitudes toward SM were associated with younger age (20-29 years, mean score 3.13; 30-39 years, 3.40; 40-49 years, 3.39; 50-59 years, 3.18; 60-69 years, 2.93; and ≥70 years, 2.92; P=.02), using SM frequently (never, mean score 2.49; less than once monthly, 2.75; once monthly, 3.21; weekly, 3.31; and daily, 3.81; P<.0001), and professional degree (PhD, mean score 3.00; MD, 3.05; DO, 3.35; PA, 3.42; and NP, 3.50; P=.01).
Conclusion: We describe the first validated measure of CME course participants' use of and attitudes toward SM. Our results suggest that CME course directors should guide SM strategies toward more youthful, technology-savvy CME participants and that SM will become increasingly worthwhile in CME as younger learners continue to enter the profession.
Copyright © 2012 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.