In 2019, Unicode 12.0 announced the addition of a stethoscope, adhesive bandage and safety vest to the growing list of emojis perfect for any phone-carrying, text-message-typing infection preventionist. Back in 2018, nestled among the smiles and food, premiered a lab coat, sponge, bar of soap, DNA, test tube, and most excitingly, microbe and cultured petri dish. We can only imagine the ways you all will use these new emoji! In honor of #WorldEmojiDay, we’re going to examine how social media is used as a tool to improve patient safety.
Many IPs use social media as a regular part of their job, including connecting with colleagues, networking with other professionals, and enhancing their skills. Here are some popular examples:
LinkedIn has several groups focused on Infection Control:
- Epidemiology and Healthcare Epidemiology
- Infection Control and Prevention
- APIC Infection Prevention Group
- Epidemiologic Consulting
Similarly, Facebook hosts several IP-themed groups:
- Infection Control Today Page
- Certification in Infection Control Page
- APIC Infection Prevention and You
- Controversies in Infection Control and Prevention
Social media and infection control is even on the radar of current researchers. In a 2010 survey, 93.5% of medical students, 79.4% of residents, and 41.6% of practicing physicians reported using online social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Social media was examined in one study, while the world of blogs was reviewed in another. Even the use of entertainment-education YouTube videos was studied.
Good quality blogs and forums can be a godsend for both the novice Infection Preventionist and the seasoned expert looking to stay up-to-date. Here are a few of our favorites (besides our own, of course!):
- Members of APIC can network and share on the forums in MyAPIC
- Controversies in Hospital Infection Prevention
- CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog
- A variety of blog choices at Microbiology Blogs
We can't forget the online options for patients, from researching topics to finding support for conditions. Not including the many hospital ratings sites (which we cover here), the following are some favorites for patient advocacy and support:
We hope you discovered a new place to visit online and share your expertise on infection prevention. In between busy work and home schedules, we hope you get a chance to experiment with the new infection-friendly emojis! Share your best ideas in a comment below!