Letters to the editor

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Current medical education: medical content on Instagram® in COVID-19’s time in Peru

Educación médica actual: contenido médico en Instagram® en tiempos de COVID-19 en Perú

To the editor:

The interruption of face-to-face medical education due to COVID-19 is an unprecedented scenario that has accelerated the use of technological resources in learning.[1] Students of healthcare professions are seeking to continue their academic training using the Internet. However, the information that they find is not restricted to literature databases—it is also present in social networks, such as Instagram®[2]

The use of  Instagram® for communication and entertainment purposes is well known. However, studies in different countries have shown that it is also useful in medical education[3],[4]. Thus, Peruvian users have increased the production of medical content during the pandemic, being available from any device connected to the Internet. These innovative audiovisual materials (flashcards, videos, etc.) have sparked the interest of many online followers due to quick access, low cost, and practicality of use (Table 1). Likewise, the content allows the interaction and exchange of knowledge, benefiting the collaborative learning of many students[4].

Medical content accounts on Instagram® in Peru during the health emergency.
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It should be considered that the information presented on social networks is not subject to strict reviews when shared and may affect the veracity of the academic material offered.[5] For this reason, we recommend that the medical content on Instagram® be accompanied by the bibliographic sources used in its preparation. Thus, the use of Instagram® does not replace the information on higher quality websites, but given its advantages, it constitutes an alternative tool that is increasingly used by students.[5]

We conclude that medical education on Instagram® has been widely accepted by its users and has been used long before the appearance of SARS-CoV-2 with good results. It is a useful online tool that must continue looking for standards that ensure the quality of its content, this being its main limitation. Despite this, we consider that it is an alternative with great potential for use in current medical training in times of pandemic.