Want public health news fast? Follow doctors.

By Daniel Ghinn

User research informs education website

Greg Matthews over at W2O Group has just posted an excellent analysis of the role of online doctors in breaking the Disneyland measles story last month. He illustrates how the story about the connection between Disneyland and the measles was first broken by pediatrician Jaime Friedman in a tweet she posted on January 6th, almost a full day before media coverage of the story began.

Key insights that stand out for me in Matthews’ analysis:

  • Online doctors tend to be highly connected to one another, so relevant health news spreads very fast among them on channels like Twitter.
  • Online doctors have become primary sources for reporters who cover healthcare.
  • Media reporting on vaccinations lags behind doctors’ conversations in terms of time and online volume.

In an illustration charting volume of tweets about vaccinations by doctors and the media, Matthews illustrates that the volume of doctors’ tweets on the topic far outweigh media tweets over the past year, with the gap between them narrowing in recent weeks.

Matthews’ analysis clearly shows how online doctors lead the conversation about vaccines while media follows, lagging behind doctors in time and volume. Source: MDigitalLife

So, if you want public health news first, you’d better follow doctors in social media!

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Meet the Author

Daniel Ghinn

Daniel has been at the helm throughout the company’s life since 1998. His rich expertise in working with pharmaceutical businesses has enabled CREATION to build business solutions that fit our clients’ needs.

Daniel is married to Jo, has three children, a cat, a dog, 28 fish, and 160,000 bees.