Infectious Disease

Get in contact with others exterior of your “regular sphere”

March 08, 2021

4 min read

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Chiang does not report any relevant financial information and Jain reports that she is an advisor to Healio, the Women in Oncology consultative medical editor for Healio and host of the Oncology Overdrive podcast for Healio.


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Doctors are increasingly using social media to initiate conversations on a range of topics and share their research.

One of the newest social media apps they are using is Clubhouse, which is an audio-only platform.

Austin Chiang, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Social Media Officer at Jefferson Health, stated that there are rooms where a certain number of people are speaking on stage and the others are considered the audience. In other words, the audience can only speak when they raise their hands and are invited onto the stage.

“It’s great,” said Chiang Healio Gastroenterology. “It fulfills a certain need for group communication and is similar to Zoom in that you can interact with multiple people at the same time, but the platform doesn’t break when people are talking about each other.”

According to Chiang, Clubhouse is a completely different social media platform than Twitter or Facebook.

“Basically, it’s a way of engaging in conversations with people you don’t normally listen to or talk to, so that people feel like the clubhouse has become a place to go to content and access to content has people whom you would normally not have access to, ”said dr. Shikha Jain, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told Healio Gastroenterology.

She said it was a way for people to connect with people outside of their normal spheres.

Creative use for clubhouse

According to Chiang, many doctors are now using the clubhouse and dealing with non-medical people on health issues. They also host their own rooms in the clubhouse to discuss various health issues. Chiang and Walter W. Chan, MD, MPH started a regular GI Grand Rounds discussion about the clubhouse.

“On gastroenterology, some colleagues and I have already started running journal clubs and large-scale discussions on GI topics, and we encourage our thought leaders to access the app so we can reassure ourselves that the people who talk about these topics are actually serious and well educated in these areas, ”said Chiang.

He added, “[Everyone] seems to have a different approach and this is still evolving very quickly due to the novelty of the platform. “

Jain said he overheard conversations about gender equality, women on medical issues, starting a sideline, or starting your own business. Some doctors just want to participate in one conversation, while others create rooms for hot topics to be discussed. They also promote some books or events and educational lectures.

Jain said: “[Clubhouse] is used and I can only imagine that it will continue to grow. “

Chiang has experienced some problems with the clubhouse. Due to the positioning of people on the stage compared to the audience, there can be a power dynamic. Anyone in the clubhouse room can put themselves in a speaker position and position themselves as an authority, although they may not be an authoritative figure on their subject.

“It is clearly very successful and other platforms are already working on their versions of it,” said Chiang. “Twitter is published [its version] pretty soon.”

Always room for improvement

Chiang said, as with other social media platforms, Clubhouse always has room for improvement. “We have to understand that this app is less than a year old [while] Twitter has been around for much, much longer. “

He noted that the founders of Clubhouse are gradually making changes and improvements to the app as they see where improvement is needed.

“One challenge that I personally have was that I couldn’t use it as often as I would like. I find it hard to just be on an audio platform with small children running around and sometimes trying to catch up with things between things. So it’s difficult to be always present when things happen, ”Jain said.

She said an improvement for her would include an area in the clubhouse where recordings are available or the ability to chat over text that is similar to other social media platforms rather than just an audio platform. Jain said this could make the clubhouse more accessible to those who are not in a place where they can physically speak.

Privacy issues

According to Chiang, doctors need to be aware of the possibility of privacy issues, just like with any social media platform. According to Jain, there may not be a lot of policing in the clubhouse as it is a public platform with no many restrictions.

“We knowingly and willingly participate in other platforms,” ​​he said. “Recognizing that there are many other privacy issues and not everyone knows how to deal with them, there are ways to turn off certain features that are enabled by default to collect information from you and at Clubhouse we just have to display them the same Path.”

He said that people using Clubhouse need to be aware that their voice recordings can be extracted and cataloged as the app is an audio format.

Regarding gastroenterology, Chiang said that he and his colleagues use Clubhouse as an adopter so they don’t get left behind like other social media platforms.

“I’m excited to see where this is going because it’s a very unique and interesting platform that offers some very interesting opportunities to get involved,” said Jain. Hopefully it will be a place where we can find ways to raise the voices that need to be amplified and really amplify the voices of the people who need to be heard. I hope that with this particular platform we can find a way to do this, similar to what we have tried with other platforms on social media. ”


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