At W2O, we work across therapeutic areas to help our clients understand healthcare providers (HCPs) perspectives on key topics by analyzing their social media posts. That work has enabled us to form special relationships with a number of leading HCPs, including key oncology & hematology influencers. As a result of this work we were invited to contribute to a journal article introducing Hematologists & Oncologists to social media platforms.

On a daily basis, our job at MDigitalLife (a W2O company) is to measure the value emanating from the presence of expert HCP opinions within online social discourse, and it can be an incredible force. We see that HCPs are often guiding online conversations, and we’re encouraged when experts lead the way.

Many top online HCPs have told us their main impetus for establishing an online presence was to correct misinformation put out by the likes of Jenny McCarthy (Antivax sentiment) and more recently sites like – backed by celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow – which admonish patients to turn to unproven treatments and spurn sound medical advice from knowledgeable HCPs.

Clearly, HCPs can’t police the entire internet, but having trained medical professionals active online to hold the online health community accountable is truly invaluable. To that end, we continue to partner with leading HCPs to advocate for further adoption of social media platforms, and today we are pleased to share the recent publication of a collaborative article between the MDigitalLife team and key online HCPs.

Greg Matthews (head of healthcare analytics innovation at W2O and creator of MDigitalLife) and Yash Gad, PhD (head of healthcare analytics technology at W2O) collaborated with leading minds Michael A. Thompson, MD, PhD, Don S. Dizon, MD, Howard J. Luks, MD, and ePatient advocates Jenny Ahlstrom (CrowdCare Foundation) & Andrew Schorr (PatientPower) to publish “Twitter 101 & beyond: Introduction to social media platforms available to practicing hematologist/oncologists in the Seminars in Hematology journal.

What’s in the Article

The full article provides a practical introduction to social media outlets, hashtags, & social analytics, along with first-hand experiences of patients and HCPs with crowdfunding, advocacy forums & integration of social activity into HCP daily routines.

The W2O team utilized our extensive experience in social analytics to contribute a framework for measuring online healthcare conversations to the article. Rather than just looking at the number of posts or the theoretical “reach” of the authors of those posts (an aggregation of the number of followers each poster has – a misleading measurement), in this article we propose a novel set of metrics that will give researchers a way to quantitatively measure the truly important facets of a conversation. The metrics we propose include size of the conversation, author and content diversity, connectivity of the authors, equitability of the conversation, originality of the conversation, temporality (for event driven conversations), authors’ impact on the health ecosystem as a whole, and conversationality between authors. Collectively, these metrics provide the basis for a deeper understanding of online conversations and a way to objectively compare them. (for more info on these metrics, see our “Scoring Online Networks” blog)

The article abstract:

“Social media utilizes specific media platforms to allow increased interactivity between participants. These platforms serve diverse groups and purposes including participation from patients, family caregivers, research scientists, physicians, pharmaceutical companies. Utilization of these information outlets has increased with integration at conferences and between conferences with the use of hashtags and “chats”. In the realm of the “e-Patient” it is key to not underestimate your audience. Highly technical information is just as useful as a basic post. With growing use, social media analytics help track the volume and impact of content. Additionally, platforms are leveraging each other for uses including Twitter, blogs, web radio, and recorded video and images. We explore information on social media resources and applications from varying perspectives. While these platforms will evolve over time, or disappear with new platforms taking their place, it is apparent they are now a part of the everyday experience of oncology communication.”

We thank our co-authors for sharing their knowledge and experiences with social media platforms, and we hope this article will contribute to the growing library of resources for HCPs interested in engaging with social media.

For the full text, visit Seminars in Hematology. (account or purchase required)

About MDigitalLife

The MDigitalLife Online Health Ecosystem database powers the W2O Group’s healthcare analytics, a key driver for our integrated marketing and communications offerings. 70% of the world’s biggest pharma companies have benefitted from the power of MDigitalLife, along with hundreds of other healthcare organizations.

Follow MDigitalLife on twitter @MDigitalLife; Like MDigitalLife on Facebook.

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 about us here or reach out to Greg Matthews.