Elizabeth King Goacher, PA-C, MHSName: Elizabeth King Goacher, PA-C, MHS

Institution: Duke University Medical Center

Find me on: Twitter — @GoachPA_DukeGI

How do you use social media in your professional life?
I use it to bring awareness to the work of allied health professionals (NPs, PAs, RDs, PharmDs, CNSs) in hepatology, to showcase the work of Duke Gastroenterology, to highlight good work and good deeds in hepatology, GI, health care disparities, heath inequalites, and resilience, to shed light on what needs to lifted from the dark corners, to bring more people to the table and to bring the table to those who deserve a seat.

What platforms bring you the most value and why?
Twitter is my "go to." While I am still trying to really get the hang of it, it has definitely changed my journal reading. Nothing like a respected colleague tweeting a link to an article to get me reading it mid-day instead of late night. I also think it has become the platform of choice for communities of scientists and health care workers. I find it provides more of chance to engage in conversation than Facebook posts which are static. On the advice of our local social media expert, Dr. Deborah Fisher (@DrDeborahFisher), I am going to check out LinkedIn as my next adventure but will be tweeting for now.

Why is it important for hepatologists and hepatology health care professionals to be on social media?
It is said that “social media is the wave of the future.” Folks, we have to ride this current wave. The future is now. Social media isn’t a replacement for true discourse or more substantive review and critical discussion, but it gets more people in our game. If we miss this opportunity, we are wasting an easy chance to engage more clinicians, patients and stakeholders ready to invest in what AASLD already has to offer and cutting off potential growth. Also, our patients are online. You have to be careful not to provide medical advice to specific people or in certain situations but you can raise awareness and point people to other resources for additional information. Examples include everything from suicide prevention among veterans, to credible information about hepatitis C treatment.

What tips do you have for your colleagues who want to get started on social media?
Know your institution's policies, keep it professional (e.g. don't complain about patients or your workplace online), be very careful with patient identifiers — the date and location of a patient interaction or a rare condition/complication could be identifying even if names are not used. Consider "lurking," i.e. following but not posting until you get a feel of the communities and the platform itself. But most of all, just try it. It is easier than you think. And sneakily addictive.