The #DukeEBM sort-of almost experiment

On Friday, March 7 I ran something of an experiment in crowdsourcing information via social media.  At that time I was attending an evidence-based medicine (EBM) conference at Duke University, and during Friday’s closing session I was asked if I would discuss how we can use Twitter as a way to share and discuss EBM resources and information.

Two of the examples I gave were pretty straightforward.  The first example was showing that Twitter can reach broad audiences and share information outwards towards those audiences.  The second example was a discussion of TweetChats, including the #MedEd tweet chat and the BMJ Evidence-Based Nursing Twitter journal club.

The third example was a sort-of almost experiment.  Just about 12:30 pm, I posted this post on this blog.  At 1 pm I posted these tweets:

Within a few minutes, I began to receive responses to these posts.  These responses included:







Within these responses were actionable, easy-to-use, up-to-date evidence-based recommendations for care.  This was not truly an experiment: @btuttle knew that I was going to run this test, but did not know the precise time or content of the request, and I did mention the #DukeEBM tag during the #MedEd chat: folks were aware that this test was going to happen, but did not know the specifics.

Overall, I think we proved the point: the Twitter community can and will respond effectively when we ask for help.  I think we also showed that these responses can help advance the cause of evidence-based medicine and improve healthcare for all our patients.

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