5 influential ER docs on Twitter: A scientific approach

Social media
Some emergency physicians are embracing social media and blogging to start dialogues on healthcare.

Emergency physicians are finding new ways to connect with patients, with some growing an audience by posting messages to Twitter.

Researchers at the University of Washington analyzed Twitter posts for more than 2,200 emergency physicians to see which ones made the most out of their 140-character posts. The team identified about 60 doctors who are cultivating a following on the site both by measuring followers broadly and by looking at who’s connecting the most with other emergency physicians.

The team also looked at the content of posts to determine which physicians are more likely to spread and share key information. The researchers hope that their analysis can form the basis of future study on how emergency doctors are interacting with patients and their peers on social media. For instance, many of the doctors driving the conversations on Twitter also have blogs or podcasts where they discuss healthcare topics.

“Understanding the balance of content on Twitter may help [emergency medicine] practitioners and educators make informed decisions,” the researchers write.

FierceHealthcare randomly selected a few of the study’s 60 top U.S. doctors to see what they share on Twitter:

Amal Mattu, M.D., vice chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Maryland

Jason T. Nomura, M.D., emergency physician with Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Delaware

Rob Orman, M.D., an emergency physician based in Bend, Oregon, and host of ERCast podcast

Lauren Westafer, M.D., emergency physician and research fellow at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts

Sean M. Fox, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine at Carolinas Medical Center