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Welcome to the New Age of High Tech Communication: Kudos to the Few for so Many

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David Baran, MD
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
Newark, NJ, USA

It is funny how quickly technological changes become an essential part of the fabric of our lives. Email has largely supplanted "snail mail," just as online manuscript processing has replaced paper submissions. We live in a world where even the future of magazines and daily newspapers is in question. The advent of the world wide web and more recently the proliferation of social media has fundamentally changed our world view. We hear about events in near real time with Twitter and Facebook Live. We "pin" our favorites and catalog our daily lives on Instagram (some of us describing every mundane aspect of our day).

While social media had its roots in teenagers chatting on Myspace and later Facebook, it has expanded to encompass the medical field with professionals sharing ideas, cases and papers all at the speed of Twitter. About 2 years ago, Dr. Mandeep Mehra asked me to bring the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation into the Social age, and I set about recruiting a team to take on the daunting challenge.

Our initial members were Dr. Shelley Hall, the Chief of the Heart Transplant Program at Baylor Dallas, and Dr. Brian Lima, Cardiothoracic Transplantation Research also at Baylor Dallas. I enjoyed reading Dr. Hall's posts on social media particularly during 2014 when their program exceeded 100 transplants!

I added Dr Jaime Hernandez-Montfort, my former fellow who is heading efforts to treat cardiogenic shock at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield Massachusetts. Jaime added insights on the Spanish language aspects of social media, and helped us recruit Dr. Alejandro Bertolotti, a heart and lung transplant surgeon from Foundation Favoloro in Argentina. He has been instrumental in translating posts into proper Spanish each month and helping us reach our Latin American colleagues.

At the ISHLT, I was introduced to Dr. Theodoros Kofidis, a cardiothoracic surgeon from "the antipode of the world" in Singapore. Theo is the author of an innovative multimedia textbook of Minimally Invasive and Hybrid Cardiac Surgery that is breaking new ground in surgical education. He has added a great perspective from Asia to our team.

Around this time, I asked my colleague Kelly Stelling, RN from Newark Beth, Israel to join our group as a representative of Nursing Science and Allied Heath. She has done a great job of bringing new ideas to the group and as a result, she has been named the Associate Chair going forward. She will be developing new initiatives that will roll out over the next months and is always looking for new team members with diverse skill sets.

Dr. John Ryan joined us from the University of Utah, where he practices transplant cardiology with an interest in pulmonary hypertension. He is also very involved in the social media activities of circulation, and we were privileged to have his help for the last year on the Workforce. He has stepped down due to the demands of his other activities, but we appreciate his contributions.

We also added Dr. Matthew Fenton, a pediatric cardiologist from Great Ormond Street Hospital in the UK, and he has added the perspective from the pediatric transplant world, as well as a view from Britain.

This year we have added three new members. First, Dr. Eugene DePasquale, a Junior Faculty Trainee Council leader and cardiac transplant doctor at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) has joined. Eugene has been very active on social media and helped bring #ISHLT2017 to prominence during our most recent Annual Meeting. Also joining is Dr. Jacob Abraham, a young advanced heart failure cardiologist at Providence St. Vincent's Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, who also did a stellar job of tweeting the ISHLT meeting to highlight the best science.

Last but not least is our newest recruit, Dr. Agnieszka Ciarka, a transplant cardiologist from Leuven, Belgium. She has innovative ideas about developing podcasts for transplant related matters. Stay tuned for developments this year.

In addition to the efforts on behalf of the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplant, where we post links to the Featured Papers each month, we added the mission of assisting the ISHLT last year. The Society had a longstanding Twitter account, but adding LinkedIn and working with Susie Newton, greatly added to the follower base.

Now we represent ISHLT and JHLT on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with the JHLT having about 2,000 followers on Twitter, 4,800 on LinkedIn and 415 on Facebook. The ISHLT accounts have 1,400 followers on Twitter and 4,800 on LinkedIn.

A huge accomplishment was reached with #ISHLT2017 in San Diego with a high of over 600 mentions in one day of the conference on Twitter! This amazing achievement would not have been possible without this hardworking team. We have big plans in the works for this coming year. We are planning to translate more of our posts across all avenues of social media, we will be producing graphical tweets (be sure to see the first one going live in May!) and are working diligently towards being able to do an online journal club. It is a huge undertaking, but also a labor of love. We look forward to you following along with us as we continue to grow and expand!

To join in and keep up with all that is new, follow @TheJHLT and @ISHLT on Twitter as well as on LinkedIn and Facebook. ■

Disclosure Statement: The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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