A study conducted by researchers at LSU Health New Orleans suggests that Snapchat might actually be an effective channel for teaching radiology.
Seven faculty members from LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine recently launched a study to evaluate the effectiveness of social media platform Snapchat in radiology didactics.
The researchers theorized that smartphone technology coupled with the radiology residents’ proficiency in utilizing social media can help improve accuracy and performance in imaging diagnosis.
To prove this hypothesis, the research group compared the quality of image analysis done by radiology residents using Snapchat with those who worked with the standard single-screen analysis.
Snapchat, a popular social media app known for focusing on video and visual imagery as its main form of communications, was chosen as the test subject due to one distinct feature.
Unlike the other image-centric apps on the digital market, Snapchat lets the user control the timing of the image’s visibility. This capability is especially helpful in radiologic education since selecting how long an image remains viewable by the user creates an opportunity for innovation in providing a fast and accurate image-based diagnosis.
The testing for the comparisons between Snapchat-aided and regular screen image analysis lasted for four weeks.
During the experiment, LSU Health New Orleans radiology residents were shown five developing radiologic cases using Snapchat and the same number of cases with identical content and time scale on a screen projector. The images were of diagnoses needing immediate interpretation for the physicians in charge. Two radiologists attended the trials and scored the performance of the residents in reading the diagnosis using both the social media app and the classroom projector.
Dr. Bradley Spieler, vice chairman of research at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine’s radiology department, claims that all residents performed better on Snapchat every week, with their accuracy rate consistently scoring higher on Snapchat than when operating with the conventional classroom screen.
As stated by Dr. Spieler, “All cases used were diagnoses considered to require emergent, non-routine communication on the order of minutes to the ordering health care provider. As such, these types of diagnoses demand prompt imaging recognition as they are considered critical findings which could result in death or significant illness if not acted upon expeditiously.”
The researchers believe that it is important to continue discovering alternative ways of teaching and learning, especially with the new challenges brought about by COVID-19.
Since smartphones are often used in hospitals, healthcare professionals should already be comfortable enough to integrate their use into medical applications.
According to the authors of the study, “the hope is that this investigation can aid in the promotion of active learning and lecture participation as well as to explore metrics for gauging diagnostic performance and pattern recognition in image-based curricula both within the classroom and in remote teaching formats.”
(Source: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and Medical Life Sciences News.)