A study of conversations about Type 1 Diabetes taking place on public social media among healthcare professionals in the UK shows that concern for patients is their number one priority. The study of 50,000 social media posts by more than 7,000 UK healthcare professionals was conducted using CREATION Pinpoint, a technology that tracks the online public conversations of more than 500,000 healthcare professionals worldwide.

Speaking about the study findings, Junell Harrington, who led the research for CREATION, said that the study revealed how healthcare professionals were taking a lead in developing materials and initiatives to support patients: “There is a desire from HCPs to see patients, especially young patients, have opportunities to improve lifestyle or connect with one another by creating patient communities”.

Among the patient engagement and support tools that healthcare professionals initiated or collaborated in were Diabetes Type 1: Origins, a comic book published by Revolve Comics in October designed to educate young people about Type 1 Diabetes; JDRF’s resources for young people on diabetes; and Ninjabetic, a blog authored by Laura Cleverly, a patient with Type 1 diabetes and a nurse working in acute medicine.

Awareness campaigns shared by HCPs included a Type 1 Comic Book and Ninjabetic blog, run by Laura Cleverly, a patient with Type 1 diabetes and a nurse working in acute medicine

The study also provides insight into UK healthcare professionals’ feelings about the NHS in Type 1 Diabetes care. While positive patient stories were shared and re-tweeted, there was also concern about NHS care of patients with Type 1 Diabetes, and many healthcare professionals were concerned by the risk of patients developing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in NHS hospitals.

“We saw in the data that healthcare professionals were quick to share praise for the NHS posted by patients, but they were also proactive about seeking better patient care where they saw weaknesses in systems”, said Ms Harrington.

 

Identifying the healthcare professional ‘Digital Opinion Leaders’

Jamie Doggett, Research Analyst with CREATION, said that the most actively engaged healthcare professionals in the study display a common set of social media behaviours. “The top healthcare professionals network well together, curate knowledge, and share content.”

To rank influence among healthcare professionals online, the CREATION team considered metrics including the extent to which an individual was mentioned by their professional peers in posts about diabetes, peer following and overall contribution to the conversation. The study identified Partha Kar, Consultant Diabetes & Endocrinology, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, as the UK’s most influential healthcare professional in the Type 1 Diabetes conversation.

“CREATION’s report shows what can be achieved when healthcare professionals use social media: they share ideas and learn from each other, and they get to understand what’s important to patients, too”, said Partha Kar.

The study also revealed the international nature of online conversation among healthcare professionals, illustrating that the UK’s top 25 healthcare professionals talking about Type 1 Diabetes were followed by more than 8,500 other HCPs, both in the UK and all around the world.

The top 25 UK HCPs in CREATION’s report are followed by more than 8,500 other HCPs

The full study report of 70 slides is available to download free of charge from CREATION at http://creation.co/diabetes-hcp-talking-points/.

 

About CREATION

CREATION is the strategic planning agency that develops evidence-based HCP engagement plans for the digital age. Its proprietary research platform, CREATION Pinpoint, tracks the online conversations of more than 500,000 HCPs worldwide and the agency has advised global health leaders including the World Health Organization and the majority of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.