Health Services Research

PV QA 3 - Poster Viewing Q&A 3

TU_41_3007 - Who is Tweeting in Oncology? Social Media (SM) Activity among Academic Leadership in 2018

Tuesday, October 23
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Location: Innovation Hub, Exhibit Hall 3

Who is Tweeting in Oncology? Social Media (SM) Activity among Academic Leadership in 2018
S. K. Yoo1, A. A. Ahmed2, L. Hwang1, M. Dean2, O. M. Ragab1, S. X. Bian1, S. J. Ramey2, V. Prasad3, and C. R. Thomas Jr4; 1University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Department of Radiation Oncology, Los Angeles, CA, 2University of Miami; Jackson Health System, Miami, FL, 3Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, 4Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR

Purpose/Objective(s): Twitter has rapidly grown as one of the most popular SM sites with an estimated 330 million monthly active users. Physicians may use Twitter microblogging with 140-character messages to advance a specific platform regarding therapies, controversies, or philosophies among their followers which may include health care professionals, patients, policy makers, industry members, and beyond. As departmental chairs/chiefs and program directors (PDs) are influential figures in the field, they can provide a surrogate for measuring SM activity of leaders in academic oncology. We examined the use of Twitter among this subgroup to compare hematology/oncology (HO) vs. radiation oncology (RO) presence on SM.

Materials/Methods: We identified U.S. academic institutions with both HO and RO programs and their physician leaders (chair, chief, or PD). These physicians were searched on Twitter for public accounts identifiable by full name disclosure and/or a professional photo. User information including number of tweets, and number of followers were collected. Binomial regression was used to assess whether certain physician characteristics (position, specialty, degree, gender) were associated with having a Twitter account. Poisson regression analyzed the same covariates with Twitter activity as an endpoint.

Results: Of the 337 departmental leaders from 89 institutions, 65 (19.3%) had a Twitter account; 34 (52.3%) were from HO and 31 (47.7%) were from RO. Twenty-seven (41.5%) were PDs, 35 (53.8%) held a chair or chief position, and 3 (4.6%) held both PD and chair/chief positions. Table 1 summarizes the characteristics of the users. HO leaders had a cumulative total of 15,370 tweets while RO leaders had 6,173. HO leaders followed 5,383 accounts and had 17,123 followers while RO leaders followed 3,619 accounts and had 5,498 followers. HO leaders were no more likely than RO leaders to have a Twitter account (p=0.29). However, chairs/chiefs were more likely to have a Twitter account than PDs (p=0.0325). While not meeting the threshold for statistical significance, there was a trend towards younger physicians to be more likely than older physicians to have an account (p=0.0660).

Conclusion: A minority of departmental leaders of academic oncology programs had a Twitter account, suggesting underuse of a valuable SM tool. Despite the smaller size of our field, RO leaders were just as likely to have an account when compared to HO leaders. Chairs/chiefs may have more of a public online presence due to their national recognition and desire to reach a broader audience. Further study may be warranted to assess the impact of social media use among oncology leaders.
Total on Twitter HO on Twitter RO on Twitter
Users 65 34 31
PD 27 12 (35.3% of HO) 15 (48.4% of RO)
Chair/chief 35 21 (61.8% of HO) 14 (45.2% of RO)
Both PD and chair/chief 3 1 (2.9% of HO) 2 (6.5% of RO)
Median yrs since med school graduation 27 28.5 22
Total tweets 21,543 15,370 6,173
Total following 9,004 5,383 3,621
Total followers 22,622 17,123 5,499

Author Disclosure: S.K. Yoo: None. A.A. Ahmed: Partnership; Dosimetry Network. M. Dean: None. O.M. Ragab: None. S.X. Bian: None. C.R. Thomas: None.

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