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Digital Literacy and Social Media in Medical Education


Should doctors of the future use social media and digital tools in their future practice? Should medical schools incorporate digital literacy into their curriculum? These are hot-button topics with no clear-cut answers. Medical school curricula are already so jam-packed with vital information that there is little room for cramming more content into the two preclinical years. But some educators believe that weaving digital literacy into a medical education is critical. At Stanford, Dr. Bertalan Mesko advocates strongly for the inclusion of social media in the context of health science as part of a medical education. He has created a course on social media and also created Webicina, a resource on social media in medicine. The Association of American Medical Colleges also published a piece on digital literacy in medical curricula.  Dr. Anne Marie Cunningham has a blog on “Wishful Thinking in Medical Education” which addresses this topic, as well.

I don’t know of any medical schools which formally weave digital literacy into their curriculum. Several issues may be at play:  most of the faculty teaching medical students are older and thus perhaps not as adept with digital tools as the students they are teaching; an assumption may be made that students are already knowledgeable about the digital tools at hand; there is simply no time to cram anything more into the curriculum. If anyone reading this knows about a formal component of a medical curriculum which teaches digital literacy please contact me at

–Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consulting

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