TWITTER FORTHE PUBLIC GOOD
WHYYOU SHOULD BE ONTWITTER
April 7, 2018
Marilyn Mann, JD
• AmericanCollege of Cardiology: travel expenses
• American Board of Internal Medicine: travel expenses
• Yale Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation:
consulting fee for serving on a stakeholder advisory
committee for developing a performance measure
under a contract with CMS
■ A social media platform that allows users to send messages
(“tweets”) containing up to 280 characters.
■ The vast majority of tweets are public and can be seen by
■ Twitter is highly interactive, allowing other users to reply to,
like, repost (“retweet”), and comment on other users’ tweets.
■ Tweets can contain links, images and videos.
■ Users can tag other users and geo-tag their tweets.
■ The use of hashtags allows users to find tweets that are linked
to a common topic or event. An example is a conference
hashtag, such as #QCOR18.
■ Databases composed of tweets are available for analysis by
Number of monthly activeTwitter users worldwide from 1st
quarter 2010 to 4th quarter 2017 (in millions)
AHA Presence onTwitter
7Source:Twitter.com, accessed 3/29/18.
AHA Journals onTwitter
8Source: Twitter.com, accessed 4/1/18.
How medical journals onTwitter can
stimulate interest /excitement
Journals are experimenting with a variety of ways to generate interest and
excitement with theirTwitter feeds, including:
■ Editors tweeting from their personalTwitter accounts to comment on
■ Attaching images
■ Visual abstracts
■ Podcasts (advertised onTwitter)
■ Quizzes and polls
■ Twitter journal clubs
■ Blog posts summarizing articles, cross-posted toTwitter
Fox, et al. JAHA. 2016;5:e003088. Ibrahim, et al. Annals of Surgery. 2017;266:e46-e48. Hawkins, et al. JACR.
Benefits ofTwitter involvement for health
■ Spreading information on an emerging innovation or best practice
■ Explaining and summarizing new research
■ Patient education and support
■ Better interaction with colleagues, forming new connections
■ Keeping up with the medical literature
■ Correcting/counteracting online misinformation
■ Engaging patients in clinical trials
■ Discussing important/controversial issues in health care
■ Promoting the public health
Case study: #RadialFirst discussion on
My idea was to useTwitter to address the gap between the evidence and the practice around
radial approach.To effectively launch it, we needed lots of exposure, so I engaged several
radial experts around the country and they all agreed to joinTwitter. I came up with the
hashtag #RadialFirst and we all agreed to use it on every tweet related to radial approach.
We then decided on a launch date and time, and began tweeting all of the content we had on
our radial education slide decks…. After the first week, it took on a life of its own and it’s been
used by cardiologists, nurses/techs, and patients around the world.The adoption of
#RadialFirst was extremely rapid: between February 2017 and October 2017, #RadialFirst
had over 30.6 million impressions with over 2,500 unique tweeters.
Walsh MN. Social Media and Cardiology. JACC 2018;71:1044-1047.
Engaging and partnering with patients in
Health research usingTwitter: an
■ A systematic review published in 2017 found 137 articles published between 2010 and
2015. Sinnenberg et al.Twitter as aTool for Health Research: A Systematic Review. Am
J Public Health. 2017;107:143, e1-e8.
■ Two general types of studies:
– Studies that analyze data fromTwitter (e.g., content analysis, surveillance of
volume of tweets about a particular topic, engagement ofTwitter users withTwitter
accounts or tweets)
– Studies that used theTwitter platform (e.g., to recruit participants for clinical trials
or to conduct an intervention onTwitter)
Publication date of articles in the
Sinnenberg systematic review
Sinnenberg, et al.Twitter as aTool for Health Research: A Systematic Review.Am J Public Health.
■ Twitter is a highly interactive social media platform that can be used for health
■ Health professionals, researchers and consumers/patients are usingTwitter for
networking, education, and public outreach.
■ Analysis ofTwitter data is a new field of health research.
■ TheTwitter platform can be used in connection with clinical trial recruitment, support
and communication and other health care interventions.