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The rise of YouTube as a medical education resource

The rise of YouTube as a medical education resource

Dr Derek Adu-Sarkodie on harnessing the social media platform as a medical education tool to help GP trainees prepare for their exams and stay up to date with clinical guidance

The NHS workforce plan published in June outlines a pressing need to significantly expand education, training and recruitment to meet the growing demand for healthcare services.

As GPs, we have undoubtedly demonstrated our ability to adapt to recent challenges by making several changes to our services. But the current workforce capacity, along with the sheer lack of GPs, poses challenges in fulfilling the increased medical education requirements.

This week, a new cohort of GP trainees have started working all over the country. As a result of the pandemic, many of them have embraced new ways of learning via platforms such as YouTube, which is free, familiar, and easy to use. Educators can also enjoy the benefits of YouTube, as there is no cost implication for uploading content and creating a library of videos on the platform.

What’s more, detailed metrics on each uploaded video provide instant feedback for educators, facilitating continuous improvement in teaching skills. This significant benefit cannot be understated, as metrics such as watch time and audience retention rates allow educators to identify any particular aspects of a message that may either need to be strengthened or refined.

We created the YouTube channel Adu Med to meet some of the challenges highlighted by GP trainees as a result of the pandemic. As the resource is dedicated to providing free and easily accessible medical education to GP trainees preparing for their Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) exam, it is specifically tailored to the AKT curriculum and offers five-minute videos summarising curriculum components. Most videos also have corresponding case study videos based on clinical cases, providing trainees with practical application opportunities.

The success of Adu Med demonstrates the value of delivering medical education through social media platforms such as YouTube. Within the first year, we presented our approach at both the Academy of Medical Educators (AoME) and the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) conferences, gaining recognition and appreciation for our innovative method.

Furthermore, trainees benefit from seeing a familiar and trusted voice delivering educational content, which fosters a sense of familiarity and enhances engagement. The scalability of YouTube allows us to reach a wider audience, which is crucial in light of the workforce plan’s focus on expanding training opportunities. YouTube also enables us to adapt quickly to updates in clinical guidance and to tailor our education to meet the specific needs of trainees within our region.

The workforce plan’s emphasis on training more healthcare trainees to meet increasing healthcare demands necessitates innovative solutions in medical education delivery. By embracing YouTube as an educational tool, doctors can contribute to the realisation of the workforce plan’s goals and ensure a well-trained medical workforce capable of meeting the challenges of the future.

Dr Derek Adu-Sarkodie is a GP in Manchester, clinical lead for workforce and education in his locality, and creator of the Adu Med YouTube channel