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The Prescription Opioid Epidemic: Social Media Responses to the Residents’ Perspective Article


In June 2014, Annals of Emergency Medicine collaborated with the Academic Life in Emergency Medicine (ALiEM) blog-based Web site to host an online discussion session featuring the Annals Residents' Perspective article "The Opioid Prescription Epidemic and the Role of Emergency Medicine" by Poon and Greenwood-Ericksen. This dialogue included a live videocast with the authors and other experts, a detailed discussion on the ALiEM Web site's comment section, and real-time conversations on Twitter. Engagement was tracked through various Web analytic tools, and themes were identified by content curation. The dialogue resulted in 1,262 unique page views from 433 cities in 41 countries on the ALiEM Web site, 408,498 Twitter impressions, and 168 views of the video interview with the authors. Four major themes about prescription opioids identified included the following: physician knowledge, inconsistent medical education, balance between overprescribing and effective pain management, and approaches to solutions. Free social media technologies provide a unique opportunity to engage with a diverse community of emergency medicine and non-emergency medicine clinicians, nurses, learners, and even patients. Such technologies may allow more rapid hypothesis generation for future research and more accelerated knowledge translation.

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