This is the final post in a 5-part series:

This is definitely a case of “saving the best for last.” One of the most important things we’ve studied relative to physicians’ use of online tools is how they relate to each other. When we introduced the MDigitalLife data set at the Mayo Clinic in October of 2012, one of our most important insights was that physicians are intensely networked with each other. Another was that the primary driver for those linkages were not related to obvious associations like geography or specialty. Our understanding of those networks has deepened exponentially over time, and will continue to evolve as quickly as the online doctors do.

The MDigitalLife database is the first and only database in the world to link physicians’ “digital footprints” to their national physician registry, and as of today has mapped the digital footprints for over 220,000 US physicians (and is preparing to launch in Europe). Using that database, we’re sharing 5 lists – all based on who those real doctors ACTUALLY FOLLOW on twitter. No editorializing, no guesswork. So without further ado, let me introduce you to the Top 5 physicians followed by US physicians:

Most Followed Blog Posts_Physicians

  1. Dr. Sanjay Gupta – @DrSanjayGupta (Also the 2nd most followed handle across all categories)
  2. Kevin Pho, M.D.  – @KevinMD   (The #3 most followed overall)
  3. Dr. Mehmet Oz – @DrOz (The #6 most followed overall)
  4. Atul Gawande – @Atul_Gawande (The #17 most followed overall)
  5. Andrew Weil, M.D. – @DrWeil  (The #29 most followed overall)

It comes as no surprise that physicians are well represented among the top of our list. As @Doctor_V (#11/#74) recently pointed out in his blog post (How twitter has changed;, many of the healthcare early adopters on twitter were physicians participating in organic micro conversations, but as twitter grew we saw it “transition from a small, contained group of physician and patient friends to a publication tool.” The move to twitter as a publication tool can be seen in 2 of the top 3 on our list @DrSanjayGupta & @DrOz who are practically household names due to their work with major media outlets. Another standout on our list, @KevinMD has become one of social media’s leading voices through his and partner publications on his very popular and useful site

Physicians make up nearly a quarter of our top followed list, with a very even distribution between the 1st – 4th quartiles. Through our analysis we found that 24% of our top 1,000 fell into the physician category, clearly the largest of any category.

Rounding out the top 10:

Our team at MDigitalLife has been actively following and engaging with MDs on social media and has aggregated and analyzed millions of data points to understand physicians’ attitudes and behaviors on any topic. If you’d like to know more, contact us via or @MDigitalLife.

We’ll be sharing an overview post along with new slides and stats on Friday, May 9. Thanks for reading!

Make sure to read the other posts in this series:

Methodology Notes:

  • We identified “Physicians” as individuals who are identified in the US NPI database as Allopathic and Osteopathic Physicians or Students in a Medical Training Program (in other words, Residents)
  • Physicians are always classified as physicians, even when they are primarily engaged in another field (e.g., reporter or celebrity)
  • Follower lists were generated on January 13, 2014