Facebook and Twitter can boost antimicrobial stewardship among young physicians

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can improve antimicrobial stewardship among younger internal medicine residents, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

The findings could prove significant for engaging staff in stewardship initiatives as recent research suggests physicians may prescribe the wrong antibiotic as much as half of the time.

Over the six-month study period, 55 medical residents received regular Facebook posts and tweets containing links to educational materials and clinical pathways regarding antimicrobial mindfulness featured on their hospital's antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP) website. The ability of participants to use the website increased from 70 to 94 percent over the study period. Participants reported sometimes, frequently or always using antimicrobial stewardship clinical pathways at a rate of 33 percent prior to the beginning of the study. By study's end, that number rose to 61 percent.

"Social media is a valuable tool to reinforce ASP initiatives while encouraging the use of ASP resources to promote antimicrobial mindfulness," concluded the authors.

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