Context.-Social media sites are increasingly used for education, networking, and rapid dissemination of medical information, but their utility for facilitating research has remained largely untapped. Objective.-To describe in detail our experience using a social media platform (Twitter) for the successful initiation, coordination, and completion of an international, multi-institution pathology research study. Design.-Following a tweet describing a hitherto-unreported biopsy-related histologic finding in a mediastinal lymph node following endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration, a tweet was posted to invite pathologists to participate in a validation study. Twitter's direct messaging feature was used to create a group to facilitate communication among participating pathologists. Contributing pathologists reviewed consecutive cases of mediastinal lymph node resection following endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration and examined them specifically for biopsy site changes. Data spreadsheets containing deidentified data and digital photomicrographs of suspected biopsy site changes were submitted via an online file hosting service for central review by 5 pathologists from different institutions. Results.-A total of 24 pathologists from 14 institutions in 5 countries participated in the study within 143 days of study conception, and a total of 297 cases were collected and analyzed. The time interval between study conception and acceptance of the manuscript for publication was 346 days. Conclusions.-To our knowledge, this is the first time that a social media platform has been used to generate a research idea based on a tweet, recruit coinvestigators publicly, communicate with collaborating pathologists, and successfully complete a pathology study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Medical Laboratory Technology