What a Tweetchat – U.S. News Health #PatientChat

Well that was impressive – 1,500 tweets in one hour on the topic of patient engagement. That’s a tweet about every 2.4 seconds, with 10,000,000 impressions tallied up. I need to get a better system to manage that kind of flow, sorry if I fell behind, twitter friends!

Next time, I might try to have a column for my tweets, and one for each of the co-participants, plus the moderator, so I can track what’s being asked. Or just resign to the idea that no tracking can really happen.

One epiphany I had during the experience, which I shared with @INQRIProgram @RWJF_HumanCap @theNPSF @NPAF_tweets @TrishaTorrey @tedeytan @elizcohencnn and of course @USNewsHealth, is that this is what it must feel like for someone who is encountering a lot of information at once that they need to interpret, and maybe not in their native language or nomenclature…for example, a patient in health care.

I am, in a conversation like this, going to be as patient centric as possible – I saw the tweets about physician time and physicians being able to be involved, and I respect them, it all has to work. At the same time, I feel that those sentiments get so much airtime in health care to the exclusion of all else that I need to provide a little counter balance. Let me know what you think of this in the comments.

My other question is where a tweetchat fits in to overall learning if it goes this fast. Any ideas?

There’s always a next one, like on September 12, 2013

I already signed up to do another one (why not?) on environmental stewardship in health care. I think this is a topic that doesn’t yet get a lot of attention in the social media space (see: Do physicians tweet about environmental stewardship in health care? | Ted Eytan, MD
), so I assume the feed will be more manageable. I’ll be joined by experts at Kaiser Permanente who are setting the bar in this area, which is about a health system that heals wherever our patients are. See you then!

And hey, thanks @farralevin @kesineekp @vincegolla and the @kpnewscenter team for keeping myself and colleagues safe and comfortable so that we can change the world and have fun at the same time.


I joined in when I could but the chat sure did move fast. If I was new to Twitter chats I would certainly have found the pace overwhelming but I have learned through participating in previous chats that it is impossible to keep up with all that is being tweeted at the time. The value for me is what happens after the chat. When I moderate chats I use Storify to capture the tweets and notify chat particpants – then we all have a chance to catch up at our leisure, follow through on points raised, clarify or add to the discussion on Twitter – or expand it through blogging. I also find value in embedding some of the most pertinent tweets in my next conference or meeting presentation. I think Twitter chats are one of the most valuable tools to advance knowledge and connect with key influencers and peers.

JBBC1 Thank you for adding some ideas of how to manage this!
I’m wondering if there are better ways? The  current tools (Tweetchat, Twubs) don’t do a whole lot more than add a hashtag to the running stream – they don’t help the chat facilitators/moderators dialogue with each other. It would have been helpful if more people added @ replies to their comments to simulate more of that.
Besides having a better software platform, I’m wondering why for the 1 hour time period. If people like me are on twitter anyway, why not start chatting at the beginning of the day, and end at the end of the day. If the purpose of the chat is for people run their thoughts by the chatter and be acknowledged, maybe this is a better way?
I’m doing another chat on Sept 12 on Environmental Stewardship in health care – open to looking at other ways to do this , different software setups, so this is more of a chat and less of a “deposit your tweet here” chat 🙂
Thoughts? Thanks for picking up on this,

You’re right, Ted – that when the stream goes to fast, it’s impossible to keep up.  It seems akin to being whisked downstream in a fast moving river, and you only hope it’s not the Niagara River so you won’t go over the Falls!
Rather than simply drown in it, I found the only thing I could do was look for the questions we “experts” had been provided with ahead of time, along with their “Ts”  and try to give cogent answers.  Then look for anyone who had asked me a question at my own Twitter ID and try to respond.  Not easy.
To your point – that’s not a conversation.  That’s a reaction only.  I kept hoping more patients would try to jump in to ask questions or for clarification, but if they did that without using my Twitter ID, then I couldn’t track it and then, couldn’t help.  Not sure how that serves anyone well at all.
It was fun!  It was a challenge!  I’ll look forward to the US News follow up.  But as to how well it served the observers and participants…  probably not so much.

Ted Eytan JBBC1 You might take a look at #abcdrbchat, which I think @everydayhealth moderates. There is a lot of interaction, because the time is structured by question, and kept moving (I think behind the scenes, but I am not sure) by edh. I think acknowldegement comes with RTs and favorites: you might promo the idea of favorites instead of post-a-tweet if you think it clutters the stream, but I think you want  RTs, and to show engagement.

johnlapuma1 Ted Eytan JBBC1 Hi John, thanks for taking the time to tip me/us off to this! I notice that Richard has a twitter handle exclusive to the chats (@abcDrBchat) that’s separate from his main handle, which looks like it can keep things cleaner. I agree with RT’ing comments, too, especially if they are directed toward the chat leader so s/he can be notified about them, rather than through stream fishing, which is really difficult. Much appreciated, Ted

Ted Eytan johnlapuma1 JBBC1 I think RTg comments towards the question works best. I think of it like ethics case consultation groups I “ran” at the Univ of Chicago and elsewhere: one person presents the case, in fragments, in a structure everyone knows. People chime in, knowing that there is more info to come. The group leader is there to present the case. It’s his/her case, but it’s everyone’s discussion. You get more ownership and exhibit more leadership by creating the agenda than by leading the discussion.

johnlapuma1 Ted Eytan JBBC1 Hey this is a great point. That is a way I would consider doing it. Right now someone else is asking the question. At the very least if the question asker @replies me it might be easier to know when discussion is started on something. In any event trishatorrey and I are going to try a new platform called Tawkers, at http://www.tawkers.com, and see if that adds flexibility to this dialogue approach, Ted

Ted Eytan, MD