Data_Sheet_1_Translational Medicine in the Era of Social Media: A Survey of Scientific and Clinical Communities.docx

Background: The integration of new scientific discoveries into clinical practice costs considerable time and resources. With the increased use of social media for scientific communication, new opportunities arise to “bridge the gap” in translational medicine. The present study aimed to investigate how medical professionals access scientific information and understand their view on the role of social media in translational medicine.

Methods: A questionnaire regarding (i) the use of social media for scientific updates, (ii) the opportunities and challenges of social media for translational medicine, (iii) social media function Chatbot, and (iv) participant demographics was developed. The survey link was posted online from February, 2018, until April, 2018.

Results: A total of 555 professionals responded to the survey. Respondents identified themselves predominantly as researcher/scientists (27%) or medical/biomedical students (15%). The majority of participants was employed at a university or research institute (59%), and most practiced either in Europe (48%) or in Asia (37%). Seventy-eight percent of respondents reported receiving most of scientific news and updates via non-social media options, such as journal websites and newspapers. Fifty-one percent of respondents believed that social media could contribute to closing the gap between scientific discovery and translation to medical application. The most crucial opportunity created by social media was found to be “connecting the right scientist to the right clinician.” Participants rated “the translation of scientific finding to clinical practice is too fast before the safety is properly demonstrated” as the most crucial challenge. Half of the respondents were aware of their institutions policy on the professional use of social media. Only 2% of respondents had previously used Chatbot.

Conclusions: Overall, medical professionals were positive about the idea that social media could contribute to the progress of translational medicine. However, it is clear that they are still being cautious about using social media for professional purposes. To fully harness the potential of social media on translational medicine, the medical community needs to be provided with educational programs, guidelines, and support infrastructure within social media.