The American Academy of Ophthalmology has had a longstanding tradition of clinical education of its membership spanning residency training, skills courses, didactic presentations, self-assessment and practice improvement activities. There is a great opportunity for the Academy to leverage new social media technologies and tools with its members, who comprise over 90% of all ophthalmologists in the United States, in this modern era of assimilation with social media. Along with the dramatic increase in the amount of scientifically-based information and evidence-based recommendations, there has been an outpouring of poor quality data, personal opinions, narratives, and misinformation on the internet. Additional research on the use and effectiveness of the multiple methods of communication on clinicians is required to characterize and understand how these methods can be used to enhance the understanding of ophthalmologists about the AHRQ-sponsored patient-centered outcomes research and the application of this knowledge to clinical decision making. In this proposal, we will apply an evidence-based approach to increase clinician engagement and collective learning about patient-centered outcomes research, through innovative applications of social media in the health professional association environment. In particular, this proposal will focus on a primary patient-centered outcomes research project that falls into one of the AHRQ's priority conditions and populations. Supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) under the DEcIDE Program, the Registry for Glaucoma Outcomes Research (RiGOR), has created a unique data source for studying the comparative effectiveness of real-world glaucoma treatments, particularly among African American and Hispanic populations, which suffer disproportionately from glaucoma compared to whites. Our goal is to leverage the RiGOR study findings and educate members of the Academy through use of social media tools to facilitate sustainable learning using modern methodologies and resources. For staff of the Academy, the goal is to develop and adopt social media approaches that do not increase their assessment or administrative burdens, and that aligns learning and assessment outcomes. We believe that widely available health information is fundamental to promote global health improvement.
Although there has been much written in recent years to describe the range of social media technologies being used in medical education, we have found little hard evidence of validity and effectiveness of such tools. Additional research on the use and effectiveness of the multiple methods of social media communication for clinicians is required to characterize and understand how these methods can be used to enhance the understanding of ophthalmologists about health disparities among minority population with open-angle glaucoma, an AHRQ- sponsored patient-centered outcomes research, and how to apply this knowledge to the clinical decision making process.