Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): World Cancer Day and Patient Engagement (Week of Februrary 4, 2013)

This week kicked off with World Cancer Day.  Monday was devoted to cancer advocacy focused on dispelling myths and misconceptions and promoting awareness.  The #worldcancerday hashtag was sprinkled with celebrity PSA’s, personal testimonies, and event promotions.

As you can see, hashtags often come in clusters within tweets.  In this case, many system specific hashtags were also included, so I went exploring in them.  My first focus was on the conversations regarding community, isolation, health literacy, and advocacy.  The first is #bcsm (breast cancer social media) which is a chat scheduled every Monday at 9 p.m. eastern that allows patients, survivors, family and friends to discuss current topics related to breast cancer.

Some other cancer related tags focused on research and the horizon of cancer detection and treatment.  Below are #BrainTumorThursday and #BTSM (Brain Tumor Social Media) that focus on awareness and support, sponsor a live chat, and encourage tweeting and re-tweeting on Thursdays, #Lymphoma similar to the others is focused on a patient and caregiver population, and #Cancer covers an enormous range of patient, physician, and news media reporting on cancer topics.

I wrapped up the week looking at #FutureMed and #ha_patients.  #Futuremed is a continuous hashtag that contains discussions from a wide spectrum of physicians, researchers, and current news related to technology, innovation, and design influences on the future of medicine (3D printing of stem cells, organs, and extremities is the talk of the town this week).  That hashtag also encompassed the Future Med 2020 Conference.  Finally, #HA_Patients was a one day conference regarding Health Affairs February issue “New Era of Patient Engagement.”  The conference was focused on two studies featured in the issue, both of which were focused on patient experience and healthcare cost correlated to patient involvement in health care decisions.

If Twitter seems overwhelming, or you are having trouble integrating all of your social media, try a tool such as TweetChat (an online interface to track hashtags and live chats in Twitter),  TweetDeck (a desktop, browser, or mobile app that integrates social media feeds), or HootSuite (a much more comprehensive and complex social media dashboard with a paid upgrade option).  More suggestions are also available on Soshable.

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