Mo chairde, #IrishMed was launched as a weekly tweetchat 5 years ago, with the modest aim of exploiting the potential of social media to help break down the artificial barriers that exist between healthcare professional and patients. Over that time it grew into a global network, with regular participants from North America, Africa + Asia, evidence that health issues are universal.
#IrishMed was non-hierarchical; all perspectives were valuable, whether specialist, generalist, patient, advocate, carer or general public. Doctors + healthcare professionals learnt from patients about their issues + frustrations, and equally non-medics learnt about the limitations + realities of medical care.
Supporting networks have come and gone; video platforms like Blab and FireTalk are defunct, and Storify provided easily readable transcripts, before they too joined the Choir Invisible (#IrishMed may be a bit of a jinx).
Fortunately symplur.com and connectedaction.net are still thriving, and the stats they provided after every chat were always instructive (and free!!).
However the time has come for #IrishMed to hang up the mighty boots, return the pike to the thatch, and ride off into the sunset. Although I’m retired from practice, for some inexplicable reason I’m busier than I’ve ever been, and I can’t give it the time commitment anymore.
I’m eternally grateful to our specialist co-hosts, who were always willing to give their time and expertise and passion. And most of all I’m grateful to our participants from all over the world for being so generous with their knowledge, wisdom and experience; many of them have become my good friends.
Social media can be a perilous jade, but medical twitter, and #IrishMed is a different beast; always respectful, always ready to change opinions if the evidence demands it.
#IrishMed has been a labour of love, and if during the journey we have helped someone, somewhere, it has all been worth it.
Go dté tú slán, everyone.