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Use of Web 2.0 tools and social media for continuous professional development among primary healthcare practitioners within the Defence Primary Healthcare: a qualitative review
  1. Antony Sean Willman1,2
  1. 1 Bulford MTF, Defence Primary Healthcare, Salisbury, UK
  2. 2 Defence Primary Healthcare (DPHC), Salisbury, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Antony Sean Willman, Defence Primary Healthcare - Bulford MTF, Salisbury 5108, UK; aswillman{at}


Introduction Alongside traditional attendance at learning, general practitioners use social media and Web 2.0 tools in the UK for continuous professional development (CPD). Research has demonstrated, however, barriers to their uptake and use, as well as a requirement for training. Primary care doctors working for the Defence Primary Healthcare (DPHC) use similar technologies, but it is not known what factors affect the uptake. This qualitative research aimed to explore the knowledge and attitudes of this demographic further.

Methods An online questionnaire was distributed to DPHC doctors via email and a social networking service (SNS) tool. Questions included demographic and open free-text response boxes. These were subjected to thematic analysis to identify initial concepts subsequently grouped into categories.

Results DPHC doctors are already using Web 2.0 and social media for education. The benefits of convenience are recognised, but protected time is required to maximise impact. They also identified attendance at learning events, better quality information technology (IT) and further training as important enablers for their CPD.

Conclusions The results reaffirmed previous findings that while there is engagement with online learning and Web 2.0 technologies, training in Web 2.0 use and substandard IT infrastructure were barriers to greater uptake. Attended learning events are also popular due to the peer-to-peer networking that takes place, but also as they allow protected time out of the office. The use of Web 2.0 for CPD and of SNS should be given equal status to allow the development of a DPHC doctors’ ‘community of practice’.

  • foamed
  • medical education & training
  • web 2.0
  • CPD
  • primary care
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  • Contributors This is the work of the author alone.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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