How one physician is using Snapchat to disrupt medical education

Shafi Ahmed, MD, a U.K. colorectal surgeon affiliated with The Royal London Hospital and St. Bartholomew's Hospital, also in London, claims the photo-sharing app Snapchat and other types of digital technology and social media are poised to disrupt medical education and alter the way clinicians operate, according to Bloomberg.

In 2016, Dr. Ahmed performed one of the first virtual reality operations recorded and streamed live using immersive video. The procedure was viewed live by roughly 55,000 people in 142 countries and downloaded 200,000 times on YouTube, he told Bloomberg. The following year, Dr. Ahmed used Snapchat to broadcast a hernia operation, and the procedure was viewed more than 2 million times on the app and garnered 50 million Twitter posts. The use of such technologies can help physicians mentor their younger counterparts in a much more constructive fashion, he notes.

"Doctors do not need to feel out of their depth, and this technology will allow them to get help whenever required," said Dr. Ahmed. "We all need support and help when faced with a tricky situation."

Marc Triola, MD, associate dean for educational informatics at New York City-based NYU Langone Health, told the publication incorporating new types of technology like Dr. Ahmed does is imperative for a field in need of disruption.

"Medical education is ripe for disruption. Cutting-edge technologies such as virtual and augmented reality may quickly become standard-of-care and mainstream," Dr. Triola said.

But the use immersive tech does more than just help train physicians, Dr. Ahmed told Bloomberg. It also helps promote transparency within the industry and demystifies surgery for the public.

"We have to challenge dogma and tradition in health," he said. "Unless you challenge, you will settle with mediocrity, stuck in the Dark Ages."

To read the full Bloomberg article, click here.

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