At the 84th annual ADA Congress, obesity got HCPs talking online

28.06.2024 | Insight

At the 84th annual ADA Congress, obesity got HCPs talking online

In its 84th iteration, this year’s American Diabetes Association (ADA) Scientific Sessions event was held in Orlando, Florida. Healthcare professionals (HCPs) from all around the world travelled to ADA and tuned in online to share data, meet peers and learn about the latest advancements in diabetes care. tracked the conversation of almost 1,000 HCPs who were active online between 8 – 24 June 2024, publishing nearly 3,000 posts. These conversations give valuable insights into how HCPs reacted to the latest trial data, as well as how they see the future of diabetes care.

Our key takeaways from ADA 2024 include…

  • Obesity was the disease area which got HCPs talking the most.
  • Eli Lilly’s tirzepatide was by far the most discussed product.
  • HCPs were optimistic about ground-breaking advancements in sleep apnea.
  • A group of HCPs with large social media followings shared data with millions online.

In the run-up to ADA 2024, HCPs shared data and looked forward to connecting with friends and colleagues

In the two weeks leading up to ADA 2024, hundreds of HCPs took to social media to talk about what they were looking forward to the most at ADA. On 12 June, just over a week before the conference began, HCPs were quick to share Daniel Drucker’s “excellent review” of GLP-1 medicines in type 2 diabetes and obesity.

As it got closer to the start of ADA, HCPs invited peers to attend symposiums like the INHALE-3 trial results, while others like diabetologist Andrew Koutnik advertised the dates and times that HCPs could see their posters using the hashtag ‘#ADA2024’.

Others shared their excitement about ADA 2024, looking forward to learning about the newest advancements in diabetes care as well as “reconnecting with friends and colleagues”.

At ADA, obesity was the disease most spoken about by HCPs

During ADA 2024, between Friday 21 June and Monday 24 June, HCPs posted over 1,500 times about a range of diabetic-related diseases. Obesity was the hot topic at ADA, accounting for around a third of all disease-related posts.

HCPs were pleased that obesity was being taken seriously as key to treating diabetes, in particular, 31 HCPs shared the news of the newly-formed American Obesity Association.

Similarly, 12 HCPs shared a post from endocrinologist Albert Lecube emphasising that “obesity is a chronic disease, not a lifestyle choice”. Another HCP celebrated that “Obesity is recognized as a disease…finally”.

HCPs also highlighted the risks of living with obesity. Four HCPs shared real-world data associating weight-loss with a reduced risk of cancer. Interestingly, endocrinologist Michael Weintraub posted data showing that people with a body mass index over 40 have “up to 17 years of lower life expectancy”, comparing it with smokers who have “8.9 years of lower life expectancy to non-smokers”. This post was shared by 27 HCPs online during ADA 2024.

HCPs hailed Eli Lilly’s tirzepatide as “entering a new era in sleep-apnea treatment”

There was a palpable excitement online for the “first-ever drug treatment effective for #SleepApnea”, the SURMOUNT-OSA trial, at ADA 2024. 208 HCPs posted about tirzepatide during ADA, with their 256 posts being seen 4,197,521 times across X. This shows that prominent HCPs with large followings were involved in this conversation, disseminating tirzepatide’s positive data widely to their respective HCP audiences.

For example, physician-scientist Eric Topol’s post on X about tirzepatide’s successful trial data was shared by 23 HCPs at ADA, and was viewed over 50,000 times. A number of other influential HCPs, like Neil Floch, with hundreds of thousands of followers, also joined the conversation; ultimately this meant that tirzepatide and sleep apnea were incredibly impactful topics at ADA 2024.

Five most impactful ADA HCPs not all supportive of the congress updates

Eric Topol, Narainthorn Surasinthon, Charles Gibson, Ken Berry and Ajidahun Olusina were the five HCPs at ADA with the highest average impressions per post. However, there are stark differences in their online behaviours during the congress.

Charles Gibson, for example, posted a mix of original and shared posts; letting his followers know he was at ADA, sharing LENS trial data and posting about the founding of the American Obesity Association. Narainthorn Surasinthon by contrast only shared posts, both about the SURMOUNT-OSA trial.

While the other impactful HCPs at ADA were generally positive about scientific data and advancement in diabetes, physician Ken Berry took a markedly different approach.

A proponent of a “human diet”, Ken Berry disparaged the American Diabetes Association throughout the congress, arguing against content that ADA was releasing on the grounds that the diet content was unhelpful for people with diabetes.

This underlines the importance of understanding who the influential voices at congress are; they may not necessarily be aligned with your goals and strategies, but it is important to be aware of the full spectrum of views which may impact the way your brand is perceived at congress.

Key learnings for industry and policymakers

As soon as the results of a trial or new standard of care are announced at a medical congress, thousands of HCPs use social media to share the news with peers across the world, adding their insight, opinions and lived experiences. The conversations of HCPs online can be used to help form, shape and influence health policy.  

For industry, learning how HCPs react to data provides an opportunity to understand issues including:

  • Is our messaging resonating?
  • How should we prioritise future research?
  • How valuable do HCPs consider our latest treatment to be?
  • What information needs do HCPs have?

Understanding the most impactful HCPs in a field – the Digital Opinion Leaders – is also a powerful tool for industry to support medical knowledge sharing.

How can you maximise your congress investment?

Deciding to invest in a medical congress can represent a significant financial investment. 

How can you make sure that you maximise that investment?

  • Understand HCP needs, behaviours and opinions to optimise resource allocation
  • Conduct social listening before the congress to understand the online conversation and make informed predictions about what will excite HCPs at congress
  • Track HCP conversations before, during and after to gain insight into what ‘moved the needle’, what HCPs respond to and what they don’t
  • Identify the voices who are influencing and shaping the conversation

For more on how to get the most out of your congress, watch our webinar, How to make the most of your medical congress investment.


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Meet the Author

Cameron Bassindale

Cameron’s academic background in Social Sciences is helping to inform his development of world-class insights, led by weaving stories to help shape and inform actions taken by key stakeholders in the Pharmaceutical industry.

When he’s not watching his beloved Arsenal FC, Cameron can usually be found with his nose in a book or out for dinner with friends.

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