We’re going live: 3 lessons learned while using Facebook Live in radiology

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Facebook launched its Facebook Live feature in 2016, allowing users of the social media application to click a “go live” button and instantly stream live video to an audience. Can this broadcast platform be used effectively in radiology?

According to a recent case study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, the answer is a resounding “yes.” The study followed the experiences of CTisus.com, an educational resource for radiologists and other imaging professionals, as its members started using Facebook Live on a regular basis. During their research, the authors learned a lot of valuable information about the platform’s potential.

“This venue provides students, trainees, and medical providers around the world with unprecedented access to leaders in the field,” wrote Pamela T. Johnson, MD, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and colleagues. “Educators interested in delivering free medical education resources on a global scale should engage in this activity.”

Johnson et al. tracked the progress of CTisus over a six-week period beginning in April 2017. These are three lessons they learned about getting the most out of using Facebook Live:

1. Persistence pays off

On April 19, CTisus used Facebook Live and picked up 2,360 views and 23 user comments. In addition, two users “shared” the stream with their own Facebook friends. They continued using the platform week after week and noticed that their hard work was paying off. By May 24, the final day included in the case study, CTisus was picking up 3,666 views and 40 user comments. Perhaps the most impressive statistic, though, is that 64 users shared that final stream with their friends.

2. Be prepared to share

As much as viewers seemed to enjoy the content being created by CTisus, the organization did notice one issue that needed to be resolved: Users wanted to see radiology images during the live stream. Their solution? The team found a third-party software solution that allows Facebook Live users to share their screen with viewers. This allowed them to split the screen between live, streaming video and a PowerPoint presentation “without compromising sound or image quality.”

3. Guests work the best

Want to attract a lot of viewers and interaction? Bring on a guest while recording your session.

“In this six-week data sample, there seemed to be an increase in viewership when the presenter was joined by an expert on the topic,” the authors wrote. “We attribute those results to the appeal of the topic and that the engaging dialogue between the presenter and his guest draws interest.”