Healthcare professionals flock to Twitter

Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and healthcare consultants from the United States make up most of the healthcare professionals who use Twitter, according to research by Creation Healthcare, a London-based research and training consultancy.

U.S. healthcare professionals make up 31 percent of the 75,000 worldwide total of healthcare professionals who turn to the social media site to "tweet" information about healthcare policy, research, individual medicines and treatments for the disease, a company spokesman told PM Live. Only 23 healthcare professionals signed up to use Twitter eight years ago but the medium became more popular in 2008, when the use of Twitter rose more than 500 percent to more than 27,000 users.

Healthcare professionals on Twitter post approximately 152,000 tweets a day and posted 208 million tweets since the site's 2006 launch.

"Public social media, including Twitter is changing the way that healthcare professionals are learning and collaborating professionally," Daniel Ghinn, CEO of Creation Healthcare, told the publication.

Recent studies show that Twitter can help health officials track the spread of influenza and social media can help combat chronic illness. The eHealth Initiative report on social media noted that message boards, blogs, microblogs and social networking sites help to break down the walls of patient-provider communication, improve access to health information and provide a new channel for peer-to-peer communication among healthcare providers, consumers and family members.

Consumers also use social media outlets to not only seek or share medical information, but to choose a specific hospital, medical facility or doctor, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the data
- read the PM Live report