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18.06.2021 | Insight

Clubhouse: HCPs’ new platform for health education

By Jamie Doggett

There has been a growing trend among online doctors in 2021: Clubhouse. In February it had become a more common appearance in their online conversations and by June we had seen HCPs talk online about Clubhouse more than 32,000 times. So what is Clubhouse and why are doctors interested?

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is a new social networking app based on audio-chat. Users can tune in to listen to the live conversations of people based on certain topics. To take part users just need to join the “conversation room” of a certain topic. It is similar to joining a conference call, but with only a few active participants in the conversation; most people are passive listeners. The room closes after the conversation and the live discussion that just occurred in the conversation room disappears – it is all about being there live in the moment!

Is clubhouse the new platform for HCPs?

We have seen healthcare professionals increasingly talking about their Clubhouse rooms on other public social networks. Over the past two digital-centred decades many HCPs have shown an appetite for new technologies which they can use to collaborate, share and learn, and have their voices heard, so it was perhaps unsurprising to see thousands of HCPs signed up and actively using Clubhouse.

It does not seem HCPs are using this platform as an alternative to Twitter or Instagram but instead as part of an integrated experience. In some conversations the speakers will actively  encourage the listeners to follow them on Twitter or Instagram: bringing the strengths of multiple social networks together.

Virtual Grand Rounds 

One example of a popular room among healthcare professionals is Virtual Grand Rounds. With over 23,000 followers and 6,000 members, the focus of this room is on health education. A conversation that occured in early June had eleven guest physicians of different specialities each describing why they love their speciality.

Twitter chats to Clubhouse rooms

Some rooms where HCPs congregate are extensions of online conversations that had been happening on other platforms, like Twitter and TikTok. One example in the field of nephrology is the hashtag #NephJC.

#NephJC stands for Nephrology Journal Club – it is a twice monthly nephrology journal club that meets on Twitter congregating around the hashtag. However use of the hashtag has spread to other social networks and now NephJC has its own Clubhouse room.

After their second February journal club, Joel Topf, one of the key players in the group invited his colleagues on Twitter to join the “after party” on Clubhouse.

Clubhouse at ASCO

The idea of using Clubhouse as a post-event space to further discuss what has been shared has led to many oncology specialities creating rooms to ‘debrief’ on the latest data shared at ASCO.

Anticipating this may be the case, Inas Abuali asked her peers if there were any scheduled Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse chats during the ASCO weekend. To which, Twitter users shared links to their Clubhouse rooms, such as the hematology oncology room “Hem/Onc Club”.

Spotting the trend, the official ASCO Twitter account asked the day before the event if anyone is hosting any Clubhouse events to paste their links in the comments below.

Clubhouse.com was the ninth most referenced site when looking at HCP ASCO tweets containing a link.

During the five days of ASCO 2021 there were tens of thousands of tweets posted by healthcare professionals. Many of these were about the trials and studies being shared by speakers and with the rise in desire to further discuss or listen more about these, Clubhouse rooms cropped up across the online ASCO conversation on Twitter.   In fact, clubhouse.com was the ninth most referenced site when looking at HCP ASCO tweets containing a link.

A platform for Digital Opinion Leaders

The post-ASCO presentation rooms were very polite and inclusive. There was something very positive about being able to just join rooms and hear the conversation, join in and comment if invited. In the same way that many HCPs who present at congress are held with  high regard by their peers, HCP who have digital influencers – Digital Opinions Leaders (DOLs) may equally value being “on stage” in Clubhouse.

Further collaboration opportunities

Clubhouse may well prove to be an interesting tool for patient advocacy groups, health companies, and the pharmaceutical industry to connect with HCPs. It is possible to start a closed room and specifically invite selected HCPs to join in. Following key events or announcements, perhaps one or more of DOLs could be invited to co-host in rooms. Clubhouse right now is a place for HCPs to collaborate, learn and socialise. As an invite-only platform it may take some time for it to get up to full speed with the wider HCP community but it has huge potential as a health education platform.

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Meet the Author

Jamie Doggett

As Associate Director of Insights, Jamie leads the Analytics and Insights Team overseeing the development of insights. He works with teams to ensure the highest standards of research outputs, client delivery, and technology development. Jamie is a country boy at heart having grown up on the sunny Isle of Wight and enjoys adventures which is reflected in a love for travel and travel literature.

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