Cardiology takes healthy interest in Twitter

#cardiology knows where it’s @.

According to a research letter published in the April 16 issue of Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Twitter has taken wing with professional cardiology organizations and scientific journals, providing measurable success in outreach and messaging.

Julie Redfern, PhD, of Sydney Medical School in Australia, and colleagues analyzed Twitter activities of nine professional groups and six medical journals associated with cardiovascular medicine to assess the growth, reach and content of their social media activities. The associations included the American Heart Association, the European Society of Cardiology, the American College of Cardiology and Heart Rhythm Society; the journals were Circulation, New England Journal of Medicine, Heart, The Lancet and BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal).

The analysis covered October 2012 through October 2013 and used analytic tools such as Twitter Counter and Tweetreach to look at Twitter accounts and 50 tweets from each account. The tweets were coded for content.  

Redfern et al found that:

  • Followers grew from 674,787 to 1,318,601, for a mean increase of 57 percent;
  • 1,200,865 Twitter users received the 50 tweets per account; and
  • Several tweets were retweeted;
  • 59 percent of tweets dealt with health professional education;
  • 19 percent with consumer education;
  • 11 percent with marketing;
  • 6 percent with social media; and
  • 5 percent with fundraising.

The researchers wrote that their analysis illustrated Twitter’s emerging role as a fast and efficient method for providing cardiovascular information as well as serving as a network on a global platform. “The benefits are particularly relevant in terms of promotional activities, awareness of health-related issues and for interactivity at scientific meetings,” they wrote.

For the record, the letter exceeded Twitter’s maximum allowable character count by several hundredfold but had a fetching headline well within the 140-character limit: “Tweeting Our Way to Cardiovascular Health.”