Background: 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.
Aims: 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".
Method: 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.
Results: 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.
Conclusions: 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.