Women's health physiotherapy facebook group: using social media to develop an international clinical special interest group

Gerard Greene, S. Croft, M. Lyons, M. Ryan

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Abstract

Background: The Women's Health Physiotherapy Facebook group was set up in 2013 to support 20 physiotherapists who had attended a UK based Pelvic Floor course. It has since grown to become a leading International women's Health group with approximately 1500 members from all the WCPT regions. The members comprise women's health clinicians, tutors, researchers, academics, post graduate and undergraduate students but also representing midwifery, oncology, urogynaecological and the obstetric medical community. Purpose: The aim of this presentation is to demonstrate the potential offered by social media to establish an international clinical interest group within physiotherapy. Methods: Facebook was selected as the social media platform for the group due to it's wide spread use by physiotherapists, ease of access and it's functionality for posting comments, links, images and discussions. The group was established by two physiotherapists, one with expertise in social media and the other an expert clinician in women's health. A closed group format was selected with membership and postings being moderated by the group's administrators. It was promoted through social media platforms, email, conferences, professional and special interest groups. It was subsequently supported by a Twitter feed with the aim of fostering further international and national links. Results: The group is now well established with members from the CSP, APTA, APA, CPA and other WCPT member organisations. There are daily postings of discussions relating to clinical practice, research and education. It facilitates sharing of resources such as clinical guidelines, patient resources, podcasts, blogs, research papers and webinars. The Facebook group supported the first International women's Health Tweetchat with the UK based PhysioTalk group. Research projects in the USA, Australia and UK have been supported by the group's members and it has also generated research projects. It has also been instrumental in increasing media exposure for the role of Women's Health Physiotherapy [CC1] in the UK through TV, Radio, Online forums and printed media. The group has played a role in connecting MSc and PhD students with international mentors and forging links with the midwifery community which enhances collaborative working and optimal patient management. Conclusion(s): Women's Health Facebook group now serves as an educational platform for the experienced and inexperienced therapist to share information on women's health. Implications: The success of the group demonstrates the potential social media and, in particular, Facebook has for the physiotherapy profession. It is an example of international collaboration among clinicians with the aim of optimising patient care. The group hopes to organise its first International Conference in 2015. There is also an ongoing project to support undergraduate physiotherapy students in developing an interest in this area of clinical practice. Now that the group is well established some public facing projects are planned to further publicise the role of women's health physiotherapy in the public sphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e482-e483
JournalPhysiotherapy
Volume101
Issue numberSupplement 1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

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Keywords

  • Women's health
  • Social media
  • Facebook

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