Physicians turn to social media for COVID-19 treatment info

Tens of thousands of physicians are using social media to develop and find answers regarding COVID-19 in real time, according to Bloomberg.

One Facebook group, known as PMG COVID19 Subgroup, already has 30,000 members worldwide. Pulmonary specialists from Italy have shared video lectures while data from China has been distributed on the group. One of the first things the group discovered, was that if a patient presents with respiratory failure, physicians should immediately intubate.

Hala Sabry, MD, an emergency room physician at two hospitals outside of Los Angeles, manages the online group. She also founded the Physician Moms Group, which currently has 70,000 members. After the group was overwhelmed with COVID-19 posts, she created the subgroup. The COVID19 Subgroup had so many physicians try to join that the code broke and 10,000 physicians waited in line to join.

North Carolina radiologist Nisha Mehta, MD, also started two Facebook group for clinicians, which are known as the Physician Community and the Physician Side Gigs. Over time, the groups has grown to include more than 65,000 members combined. Today, the groups are activley sharing COVID-19 information. 

“We have already saved a large number of lives just by sharing information about social distancing, propagating stories from the front lines, helping with diagnosis and treatment and connecting physicians to other sources,” Dr. Mehta told Bloomberg.

With the proliferation of information moving quickly, some may be concerned of the mistakes that could be made. However, Dr. Sabry said “that’s how medicine works.”

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Editor's note: This story was updated March 25.

More articles on health IT:
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CDC taps Microsoft to build COVID-19 triage chatbot

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