Another year of ASH (American Society of Hematology’s Annual Meeting & Exposition) is in the books and the online conversation this year was bigger than ever. There were over 33K total tweets using #ASH17 between 12/9 and 12/12. Using W2O’s proprietary MDigitalLife Health Ecosystem database, we tracked 23,224 tweets from 1,876 unique health stakeholders (HCPs, Advocacy, Patients, Media, Industry, etc.) mentioning #ASH17. For comparison, that was a 6% increase in conversation volume and a 16% increase in unique authors compared to ASH 2016. Check out the chart below to see how each conference has fared since 2014 – notice the massive jump from 2014 to 2015 (89% increase in volume!).

Using MDigitalLife we were able to go a step further to determine how those 1,876 authors broke down by stakeholder type. Unsurprisingly, HCPs led the conversation with over 1,000 unique authors contributing more than 50% of the posts. Healthcare Industry and Advocacy followed with 371 and 188 unique authors contributing 17% & 18% of the conversation, respectively. Media and Patients rounded out the core stakeholder groups contributing 7% and 4% of the conversation. It is worth calling out that although the Advocacy stakeholders were half the size of Industry, they actually contributed a larger percent of conversation than Industry stakeholders. This heavy advocacy involvement is a good sign for the strength of the Hematology online community.

To get an idea of who was contributing the most conversation from each stakeholder group, we identified the most active authors from HCPs, Advocacy, Industry, Patients & Media in the chart below. At the top we saw a few HCPs we recognize from our work in the Hematology space, like Mike Thompson, an active HemOnc (Hematologist/Oncologist) at Aurora Health Care and one of the leading HCP voices online; Navneet Majhail, a socially active HemOnc and Director of the Blood & Marrow Transplant Program at Cleveland Clinic who even gave his top 5 tips for using social at #ASH17 in this great video and Mohamad Mohty, an engaged professor of Hematology who serves as President of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT).

Others of note include the wonderful @MyelomaTeacher, a myeloma survivor and passionate advocate for cancer patients and research; Robin Tuohy, Senior Director Support Groups at the International Myeloma Foundation and wife to a myeloma survivor and Jacob Plieth, a Senior Reporter at EP Vantage and very active voice in biopharma.

MDigitalLife Data


A boatload of tweets from key authors does not mean the conversation was valuable. The true measure of value at any medical conference is the level of connection and exchange between the various stakeholders involved. Is the content being disseminated and discussed by HCPs, Advocates, Patients, etc.? Are the conversations stuck in small silos or are they bridging gaps between core stakeholder groups?  How does the volume of content combined with the quality of the network create a lasting discussion?

These questions pertaining to how we measure the value of an online community are ones we have begun to answer in the past with our Network Scoring Algorithm, which we co-published with prominent social influencers in the journal, Seminars in Hematology earlier this year (to read the abstract and purchase the full text, click here). And for more info on the network scoring algorithm, see this blog from 2015. When we apply this algorithm to ASH conversation this year compared to previous years, we can begin to see how the conversation breaks down. To give a quick overview, the Network Scoring Algorithm measures 5 metrics:

  • Size (a combination of number of posts and number of health ecosystem participants):
  • Audience Diversity (the amount of participation from different health ecosystem stakeholder groups, e.g., doctors, patients, healthcare company execs, caregivers, etc.)
  • Topic Diversity (the breadth of the topics discussed)
  • Quality (the level of connection and conversation engaged in by participants)
  • Impact (The presence of industry “heavy hitters” in the conversation).

For ASH, we can see that 2017 led past years in regard to Size, Quality & Impact. However, it decreased or maintained in Audience and Topic Diversity. Audience Diversity was actually the lowest it has been since we began tracking ASH conversation in 2013. While on the surface this is a negative, the main contributing factor to the decrease in Audience Diversity is the large increase in audience size, specifically the number of HCPs who are activating on social every year. We have seen similar increases in other stakeholder groups participation in ASH social conversation, just at a smaller rate than HCP adoption. The increase in audience size and corresponding shifts in audience diversity will be a important metrics to watch for ASH 2018.

Topic Diversity, the other scoring metric not increasing at ASH 2017, remained the same in comparison to ASH 2016. Topic Diversity has remained fairly steady throughout the years after peaking in 2013. The spread from 2013-2017 is small enough that this does not appear to be of significant concern and is a range we would expect to see for a meeting largely focused on one therapeutic area.

To further understand the level of connectivity and conversation at ASH, we created an interactive network visualization showing those stakeholders who had at least 10 connections (mentions or RTs) within the #ASH17 conversation. The breakdown of stakeholders in this subset of the audience can be seen in the image below. Feel free to explore this network visualization by clicking on the image below.

If you are interested in understanding more about the online ASH conversation and how you can best engage with key health stakeholders online, reach out on our contact us form and we will be in touch!

Follow Steven Cutbirth on twitter @SvenC; Follow MDigitalLife on twitter @MDigitalLife & W2OGroup at @W2OGroup

 To learn more about how the MDigitalLife Online Health Ecosystem database can reshape the way you interact with doctors, patients, the media & all the important stakeholders of your healthcare company, learn more here.