What is it about?

In early 2020, at the time that COVID-19 was defined as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, Italian doctors were the first physicians to deal with COVID patients outside China. At this time, no drug was approved for the treatment of SARS-CoV2 infection. Among other constraints, the search for reliable information that could help in the daily management of COVID-19 was an urgent need. This study involved 369 Italian physicians in early April 2020. We report that doctors, along with mainstream scientific papers and journal, consistently relied on Facebook groups and Whatsapp chats for their daily management of COVID patients.

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Why is it important?

This is the only study that explores information-seeking strategies of medical doctors facing a new, rapidly spreading, unforeseen global health crisis.


Rapidly sharing information could have a valuable impact during a new pandemic. Methods to promote safe, open-access and rapid dissemination of relevant findings could provide a substantial benefit during the ongoing and future public-health crises.

Francesco Vladimiro Segala
Universita degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Social media as a tool for scientific updating at the time of COVID pandemic: Results from a national survey in Italy, PLoS ONE, September 2020, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0238414.
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