The concept behind Twitter chats couldn’t be simpler: pick a time, a topic and a hashtag to start a free-flowing conversation accessible to 218 million people. With such a large potential audience, including many leaders in health care, these forums present an opportunity for health administrators to learn more about issues and influencers driving major debates within the industry — and expand their own social media footprint in the process.
Twitter chats take place at a set time on a weekly or monthly basis and are typically moderated by topic experts or rotating guest hosts. To follow the conversation, log into Twitter and type the chat’s hashtag in the search bar. To get involved, simply tweet your input from your own account using the chat’s hashtag. With at least 75 regular health-related Twitter chats to choose from, it would be nearly impossible to follow them all, so we’ve done the legwork for you. Here are our suggestions for the top five to add to your calendar.
Founded in 2009, #hcsm connects a wide array of health professionals in discussions concerning how health communication through social media can improve health outcomes. Known for its enthusiastic crowd, these Sunday night chats are highly structured to stay on topic. Recent themes include issues related to health care providers’ participation in patient communities and how health care is affected by patient/provider exchanges on social media and the effect of social media on health literacy. The quality of the conversation, line up of prestigious guest moderators and sheer number of participants make #hcsm a valuable tool for any health professional. The success of this chat has even spawned spin offs for different locations such as @hcsmEU in the European Union and @hcsmSV in Silicon Valley.
Founded in October 2013, #bioethx is a new and exciting addition to the health care Twitter chat scene. The first of its kind, this medical ethics themed discussion already has a solid, multi-disciplinary following. The #bioethx chat is open to all and does not shy away from controversial issues, drawing upon recent headlines for topical themes. Recent discussions have touched on sexuality and gender, research ethics, disability ethics, brain death and complementary and alternative medicine
#HAChat Health Activist Chat Moderated and founded by WEGO Health (@wegohealth) Tuesdays at 3:00 pm EST
#HAChat was founded by the WEGO Health blog to facilitate discourse between interested stakeholders — to examine issues important to communities and to empower individuals as health activists. Discussions cover a wide range of health-related topics and are often presented in collaboration with guest moderators, foundations and patient organizations. For instance, food allergies and celiac disease were discussed during celiac awareness month in a chat co-hosted by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. #HAChat participants and moderators take special care to link to online resources, tools and ideas since online activism is part of the WEGO Health platform.
#RxChat — a weekly chat composed of pharmacy and pharmaceutical industry professionals — has benefited from partnerships that bring other health professionals into the dialogue. A recent collaboration with Phoenix House (@Phoenixhouse) and The Fix (@TheFix) sparked a lively discussion on prescription drug abuse and what pharmacies, pharmacists and the medical community can do to head off this growing problem. Privacy issues, patient and pharmacist rights, adherence, counseling and relationships with other medical professionals are popular past topics.
#HITsm Health Information Technology and Social Media Moderated by Chad Johnson (@OchoTex) and founded by HL7 Standards (@healthstandards) Friday at 12:00 pm EST
This Friday lunchtime chat was formed to promote discourse regarding the use of social media in health information technology initiatives. Themes for #HITsm reflect the concerns and ideas of the participants themselves, as it is guided by user submissions made before the event. The conversation is fast paced, and the group usually discusses five separate topics per hour-long chat. Recent themes include the effects of corporate culture, patient satisfaction with electronic health records, patient privacy issues, patient safety and global health care innovation. The chats are well attended, and collaborators include the organizers of National Health Information Technology week, HITLab and the Institute for Health Technology Transformation.
The Benefits of Participating in Twitter Chats
From prescription drug abuse to electronic health records, Twitter chats cover a wide range of critical issues in the fast-moving world of health administration. With opportunities to network and gain insights from various thought leaders in the field, Twitter chats can be especially helpful for professionals seeking to apply to top health administration programs, such as the Executive Master of Health Administration from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.
Did we miss your favorite weekly conversation? Let us know in the comments.