Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology
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  Table of Contents    
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 143-144
Social media: The new frontier for pathologists

Department of Pathology, University College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

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Date of Web Publication14-Feb-2017

How to cite this article:
Tanveer N. Social media: The new frontier for pathologists. Indian J Pathol Microbiol 2017;60:143-4

How to cite this URL:
Tanveer N. Social media: The new frontier for pathologists. Indian J Pathol Microbiol [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Jul 4];60:143-4. Available from: http://www.ijpmonline.org/text.asp?2017/60/1/143/200041


Six degrees of separation is a notion that every person in this world is six steps away from another person by way of introduction. In other words, the world is really a small place. With the advent of social media and smartphone technology, no pathologist is isolated. Tremendous improvements in smartphone camera technology over the last few years have made it possible for any pathologist to click high-resolution photomicrographs of glass slides with their camera and immediately share it with another pathologist.[1],[2] Despite its inherent limitations, this has resulted in development of apps such as Curofy used by doctors to seek second opinion and suggestions of their peers. The traditional social media apps such as Facebook (Facebook, Inc., Menlo Park, California, USA) and WhatsApp (WhatsApp, Inc., Mountain view, California, USA) are also being increasingly used by pathologists to learn and share images and even manage laboratory personnel.[3],[4]

Just as molecular methods have completely changed the way we diagnose diseases, social media has changed the way we share knowledge, ideas, and viewpoints with our peers. Pathologist's professional bodies and organizations need to wake up and create social media cells to register their presence in this new universe. Social media has the potential to bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots among the medical institutions. Students from smaller centers can have access to cases of subspecialties not available at their institutes by participating in Online Forums and Facebook groups. Keith Kaplan of Mayo Clinic coined the term Pathology 2.0 to describe the ability to share pathology images and content. Blogs, Wikis, YouTube videos, WhatsApp, and Facebook are all tools of Pathology 2.0.[4]

One of the major concerns of pathologists using social media is patient privacy. For most cases in which only microphotographs are shared, patient privacy is not an issue if the age and site of the lesion is suitably altered. The guidelines for sharing images on social media as suggested by Crane and Gardner also recommend avoiding exact dates, geographical subdivisions, full facial features, and unique tattoos of patients without full written consent.[5]

Lack of formal peer review process is an inherent weakness of cases posted on social media. However, an informal peer review happens by means of comments and criticisms posted by the participants which also includes experts in the field.[5]

Periscope (an app developed by Twitter) allows users to broadcast live videos to everyone who has downloaded the application. It has been used to broadcast lectures and slide seminars around the world. Users from different time zones and different continents can not only follow the live lectures but also post comments which are visible to the person live streaming it. With the advent of 4G services, we are getting internet speeds once thought unimaginable.

Better internet speeds, high-resolution mobile cameras, and user-friendly apps all point toward one thing – we are in for exciting times in the online world. The big question is “Are the pathologists up for it?”

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Bellina L, Missoni E. M-learning: Mobile phones' appropriateness and potential for the training of laboratory technicians in limited-resource settings. Health Technol 2011;1:93-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
Morrison AS, Gardner JM. Smart phone microscopic photography: A novel tool for physicians and trainees. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2014;138:1002.  Back to cited text no. 2
Allen TC. Social media: Pathologists' force multiplier. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2014;138:1000-1.  Back to cited text no. 3
Glassy EF. The rise of the social pathologist: The importance of social media to pathology. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2010;134:1421-3.  Back to cited text no. 4
Crane GM, Gardner JM. Pathology image-sharing on social media: Recommendations for protecting privacy while motivating education. AMA J Ethics 2016;18:817-25.  Back to cited text no. 5

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nadeem Tanveer
Department of Pathology, University College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 095
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0377-4929.200041

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