Accuracy sometimes missing in medical professional Twitter activity

As doctors embrace social media tools for sharing data and research findings, a new study reveals accuracy is lacking when it comes to posts on Twitter, according to a Reuters report.

A study, published at the Emergency Medical Journal, focused on tweet accuracy by assessing the tweets of participants attending a medical conference.

"Most research can be summarized into a small headline as long as a link is added to the (background material) to avoid confusion," Damian Roland, a post-doctoral research fellow in pediatric medicine at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, told Reuters. Roland, the lead study author, noted that Twitter's constrained text format of 140 characters presents more than a few challenges in sharing what is typically very dense data, noting "it is very easy to misunderstand tone and brevity, so there are dangers here." 

Of 37 tweets sent, 16 were accurate and 16 were partly accurate, and three tweets did not accurately represent key presentation findings, notes the report. Roland told Reuters tweet accuracy is tied to several factors, including a participant's listening skills and language skills as well as a conference speaker's ability to explain research findings. Article