— More than 5,000 Doctors Generated 138,000 Tweets About Cancer in 2014; Data to be Featured by #ASCO15 –
Much of the conversation among physicians on Twitter about cancer is driven by a small number of doctors, according to a new analysis of digital behavior of U.S. physicians that found that the top 1 percent of physician Twitter users, by volume, contributed more than a third of all tweets about cancer during 2014.
Physicians in the United States generate nearly 400 tweets a day about cancer on average—some 138,000 over the course of a year—but scientific meetings and awareness months can meaningfully boost the volume of conversation by as much as eightfold.
The analysis, based on MDigitalLife’s database of verified U.S. doctors and their Twitter handles, will be included as a publication-only abstract as a part of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) 51st Annual Meeting, which is taking place in Chicago from May 29 to June 2.
“These results show two related trends. First, the pool of physicians talking about Twitter online is growing, with more than 5,000 different doctors entering the dialogue during 2014. Second, there is a smaller group of superusers who are driving much of the conversations,” said Greg Matthews, Managing Director, MDigitalLife, at W2O Group. “In that sense, the physician community mimics many other classic Internet communities, and it will be critical to understand how those digitally connected doctors impact the way that information flows to patients and other professionals.”
The analysis also found that tweets about breast cancer were more common than any other cancer type, representing more than 19 percent of all cancer-related tweets, followed by lung cancer (9 percent) and prostate cancer (7 percent).
“These new data show that social media is mainstream for a large number of oncologists. Social media use by cancer patients and oncology physicians has moved beyond early adopters and is increasing at scientific meetings,” said Michael Thompson, MD, PhD, a co-author on the research and a hematologist/oncologist for Aurora Cancer Care and Medical Director of Early Phase Cancer Research at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. “The next step will be to increase the signal-to-noise ratio of huge amounts of data to improve the efficiency of implementing new therapies in clinical practice.”
The analysis used W2O Group’s proprietary MDigitalLife database, the world’s first and only database that maps physicians’ digital properties to their official government registries. This ensures attribution of data (earned media and data such as Medicare billing, referral and prescription data) is accurate. The W2O Group uses this asset to aggregate and analyze millions of data points to understand physicians’ attitudes, behaviors and connections on any topic.
The use of social media has become an increasingly important topic among oncologists; the 2014 ASCO annual meeting included a presented titled “Appropriate Use of Social Media in Medical Practice,” which suggested social media use could help physicians “engage patients [and] lay public on key topics.”
The analysis of 2014 tweets was done by Brian Reid and his colleagues at W2O Group, including Matthews and Kayla Rodriguez, with the assistance of Thompson.
About MDigital Life
MDigitalLife reveals how physicians around the world are using digital and social media to improve the health of their patients, the success of their practice, and to regain their voice as a critical player in the health system. Digital communication tools have become increasingly important in the health system, yet little effort has been put into quantifying the type and volume of online conversations. MDigitalLife is the world’s first and only database that maps physicians’ digital properties to their official government registries. This allows the team to aggregate and analyze millions of data points to understand physicians’ attitudes and behaviors on any topic. Additionally, MDigitalLife has incorporated physician demographic data (e.g., medical school and graduation year) and clinical behavioral data (referrals, prescriptions and Medicare billings). For more information on MDigitalLife, please visit mdigitallife.com.
About W2O Group
Founded and led by Chairman and CEO Jim Weiss, W2O Group is an independent network of complementary marketing, communications, research and development firms focused on integrated business solutions to drive change and growth through “pragmatic disruption” for the world’s leading brands and organizations. W2O Group’s network includes WCG, Twist, BrewLife and W2O Ventures with 11 offices in the United States and Europe. For more information, please visit http://w2ogroup.com.
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