Stanford Medicine X An academic conference designed for everyone Sat, 13 Feb 2016 01:20:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New executive leadership appointments Tue, 05 Jan 2016 16:27:57 +0000

As an Everyone Included™ organization, Medicine X believes in the importance of diverse talent, experience and perspective as drivers of innovation in health care. Last year we issued a call for leaders from the Medicine X community and the response was overwhelming. We received over 250 completed applications for leadership positions within our organization.

We are truly humbled by the diverse talent and expertise represented by the Medicine X global community. Our leadership is still working through all nominations for advisory panels for 2016. We anticipate the announcement of advisory panel chairs and members within the next few weeks.

However, we are pleased to mark the start of the new year by announcing some new senior leadership appointments to our program executive board.

Ruchin Kansal, MBA, Pamela Ressler, RN and Michael Seres join Medicine X Program Executive Board

Medicine X is pleased to announce three new members have been elected to the Medicine X program executive board. Please help us welcome Ruchin Kansal, MBA, Pamela Ressler, RN and Michael Seres as the newest members of our program executive board. Ruchin, Pamela and Michael will each serve two-year terms ending December 31, 2017. The terms for the remaining members of the current program executive board end December 31, 2016. Nominations for these positions will open in late summer. Our Medicine X program executive board represents our senior leadership council and guides global efforts relating to all program development at Medicine X.

About Ruchin Kansal, MBA:

Ruchin Kansal has global experience as an executive, strategic advisor and an entrepreneur in the biopharmaceutical and medical devices industry. Trained as an architect, he brings design thinking to the world of business. He is adept at launching and maturing new businesses and capabilities–and driving large scale transformation programs.

Ruchin currently serves as the head of business innovation at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He is responsible for incubating the development and evolution of strategic capabilities that adapt Boehringer Ingelheim’s business to a changing market environment.

Prior to Boehringer Ingelheim, Mr. Kansal worked at Deloitte Consulting and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young . He holds an undergraduate degree in Architecture from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee,  Masters in Architecture from Kansas State University, and MBA from NYU-Stern.

resslerAbout Pamela Ressler, RNPamela Katz Ressler, RN, MS, HN-BC is the founder of Stress Resources in Concord, Massachusetts, a firm specializing in building resiliency for individuals and organizations through tools of connection, communication and compassion. Pam is a frequent, sought after speaker to local, national and international audiences on strategies of resilience. She is a faculty member at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Pain Research, Education and Policy Program and is an appointed member of the Consumer Health Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Health Quality Partners.


seresAbout Michael SeresA healthcare social media speaker, adviser, and author born in London, Michael was diagnosed at 12 with Crohn’s Disease. He studied law & politics at LSE before surgery interrupted his studies. After 20 operations and intestinal failure, Michael underwent a rare small bowel transplant in the UK.  Prior to transplant, Michael started blogging. His blog is now the official patient blog of the Intestinal Transplant Association. Michael serves on the executive committee of Oxford Transplant Foundation. He is the patient spokesperson for national quality food standards in NHS hospitals. Michael builds online patient communities through social media and  launched the #IBDChat. He’s founder of connected medical device company 11Health, runs the patient strand of NHSSM, is a patient scholar at Stanford Medicine X and a UK Ambassador for Doctors 2.0 & You!

Nick Dawson, MHA appointed to Chair-Elect of Program Executive Board

dawsonWe are also pleased to announce that Nick Dawson has been selected to serve as the inaugural chair-elect of the program executive board in 2016. Nick will assume responsibilities for leading the program executive board in its Everyone Included co-creation and leadership model as chair in 2017-18. As the Executive Director of Medicine X I will mentor Nick as chair-elect this year and serve as Emeritus chair and ex-officio member of the program executive board in 2017.

About Nick Dawson, MHA: In 2014 Nick joined Johns Hopkins as Executive Director of the Sibley Innovation Hub. In the Innovation Hub he helps lead a human-centered design team to tackle both simple and complex challenges for patients, staff and providers. His past roles include hospital leadership of departments including strategy, finance and operations.

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Registration for Medicine X 2016 opens on Cyber Monday! Fri, 27 Nov 2015 20:15:54 +0000



It’s been an exciting year for Medicine X–we held our biggest conference to date, launched a series of international pop-up events, held the inaugural Medicine X | Ed conference, and continued to grow in numbers and find more members who are passionate about changing health care for the better.

And yet, we are still confident that the best is yet to come. We can’t think of a better time to be a member of the Medicine X community. It is also the perfect opportunity to join us for the first time in 2016! Stanford Medicine X will be held September 16-18, 2016. Save the date and register today for the lowest rates.


We are proud of the fact that Medicine X hasn’t increased its registration rates since we first launched our ground-breaking programs four years ago. But in order to keep up with growing demand and rising costs without compromising the quality that you have come to expect from the Medicine X experience, we are going to be adopting a new pricing model for next year’s conference.


We will be selling a limited number of student, academic, and general registrations at each of the three pricing tiers shown in the table below for Medicine X 2016. Please note that once we run out of seats at a specific tier, we will publicly announce when seats priced at the next tier will open for registration.

Those of you who already have Medicine X 2016 marked on your calendars will be excited to hear that we will be releasing the rebel and legacy maker seats for next year’s conference on Cyber Monday – November 30, 2015 at 8 AM PST. The rebel rate is our lowest rate for Medicine X 2016. An extremely limited number of seats will be sold at these prices, so we recommend that you purchase yours as soon as ticket sales open!


The best way to ensure you will have the lowest-priced ticket to Stanford Medicine X 2016 is to register today before all of our rebel tickets are gone!


  • Medicine X Conference

    September 16-18, 2016

  • Students
  • Academic
  • General
  • Priority for
  • Reserved table seating
       in plenary hall
  • Uber BLACK transfer
       from hotel to
       conference venue
  • One ticket to welcome
       reception (Fri 11/16)
  • One ticket to exclusive
       Friends of Medicine X
       dinner (Sat 11/17)
  • Special badge access to
       VIP room
  • One confirmed
       masterclass of your
  • Expected release date
  • rebel

  • $500

    as low as

  • $500
  • $1,000
  • $1,750
  • 2nd Priority
  • no
  • no
  • no
  • no
  • no
  • no
  • 11/30/2015
    limited number
  • vanguard

  • $750

    as low as

  • $750
  • $1,500
  • $2,250
  • 3rd Priority
  • no
  • no
  • no
  • no
  • no
  • no
  • 2016, after rebel
    sells out
  • hero

  • $1000

    as low as

  • $1,000
  • $2,500
  • $2,750
  • 4th Priority
  • no
  • no
  • no
  • no
  • no
  • no
  • 2016, after vanguard
    sells out
  • legacy maker

  • $2500

    as low as

  • $2,500
  • $3,000
  • $3,750
  • 1 spot confirmed
    Others 1st priority
  • yes
  • yes
  • yes
  • yes
  • yes
  • yes
  • 11/30/2015
    limited number



We are proud of our Everyone Included™ initiative at Stanford Medicine X. This initiative provides needs-based scholarships to patients and student to ensure that all health care stakeholders have a chance to participate in discussions about the future of health care. The best way to get the most out of your Medicine X experience is to register as a legacy maker. Your registration at this rate provides essential support to our ePatient and student programs by allowing us to provide tuition scholarships to these important participants based on financial need. You will also receive unique benefits as a legacy maker, including reserved table seating in the main auditorium and confirmed placement in one masterclass of your choosing as well as access to our VIP room, which is open on the last two days of Medicine X.


Stanford Medicine X provides scholarships to bring over 50 patients and student leaders to Medicine X each year. Applications for our ePatient presenter track scholarships have now closed. Please check back in a few weeks for more information about our other ePatient scholarship and student leadership programs. We do not provide discounted rates for patients outside of our world-leading ePatient scholarship program. We will also be announcing a scholarship program to providers (RN, MD, PharmD, Dentists) who practice in medically underserved areas as defined by federally qualified health centers (FQHC). More details about this program will be released in 2016.


Once the limited number of rebel seats are sold out, registrations priced at the vanguard and hero tiers will be made available in early 2016. Additional events such as pre-conference offerings (Health Care Innovation Summit, IDEO Design Challenge) will also be made available for purchase at that time. Those who have already purchased rebel and legacy maker tickets will have the option to add those to their registrations.

This new pricing model also allows us to lower costs for students who are interested in attending Medicine X, which is a goal that we are committed to based on feedback from our community and as part of our Everyone Included™ model.


We’re excited to keep sharing the Medicine X mission and values with you and with the world as we continue to work towards sharing our vision of creating a culture of health in which everyone is trusted and respected for the expertise they bring, and where openness and experimentation is the norm, people have personal ownership of health, individual stories have global impact, and the patient voice and choice is a part of all stakeholder decisions. We’re confident that Medicine X 2016 will help us move towards accomplishing those goals.

Those of you looking forward to our next Medicine X | ED conference which explores the future of Medical Education can expect more details in 2016. We are staggering the dates of Medicine X | ED in order to create the best experience for our delegates.

Thank you for being a part of the Medicine X community. Your constant support and active participation have helped make Medicine X the global initiative that it is today.

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Medicine X “pops up” in Austin! Wed, 18 Nov 2015 18:53:39 +0000

What experiments would you conduct to explore how to address the problems experienced in health care today? This was the question posed to attendees at the Medicine X Pop-Up event in Austin, Texas on the evening of November 9th.

Attendees were presented with six key design insights derived from research done in the Austin area before actively engaging in a brainstorming session using Post-it notes as part of a design thinking process that is often used to solve human-centered problems.

Austin PopUp Talk

The research insights that were shared with the event attendees were presented by Stacey Chang, Executive Director of the new Design Institute for Health, a collaboration between the newly-formed Dell Medical School and the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. Chang and the Institute have been charged with applying creative design methodologies to help model and develop a new value-based health care system for the Austin area. Chang is well-versed in design thinking, having previously served as the Managing Director of the Healthcare practice at IDEO, a very successful global design and innovation consulting firm headquartered in Palo Alto, California. Medicine X partners with IDEO every year to host an annual pre-conference design workshop.

Early on in the program, Chang outlined the mission of the Institute and its priorities, and expertly responded to the many challenging questions posed by the attendees, many of whom were locals who will be directly impacted by the Institute’s work. Change’s presentation was incredibly well received, and the audience agreed that the research insights that Chang shared are ones that can and should be used as guidelines for health care designers throughout the world, and especially in the United States.

Austin PopUp Discussion

The event was organized by Richard Anderson, a Medicine X ePatient scholar who is responsible for teaching and implementing the human-centered design process at General Assembly, a co-sponsor of the event. Anderson was joined onstage by Brett Alder and Breck Gamel, who are also ePatient scholars, to introduce the program and share the Medicine X vision, mission, values, and experience with the Austin community.

Overall, the event was a huge success, and left attendees feeling engaged and empowered to participate in a process that is key to the future of health care. We look forward to returning to Austin for many more events!

Photos by Alicia Dietrich & Chris Hammond

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ePatient Speaker Call – Medicine X 2016 Tue, 03 Nov 2015 11:20:35 +0000

Medicine X opens its annual ePatient scholarship program’s application period for Presenter Track candidates on Tuesday, Nov. 3rd. Applications must be submitted by 11 a.m. EST (8 a.m. PST) on Tuesday, Nov. 17th.

Charlie Blotner, an ePatient from Arizona, delivers a talk about gender identity and its impacts on patient care at MedX 2016.

In the Presenter Track, ePatients give a five-minute Ignite-style speech at Medicine X held in September at Stanford University. An academic conference that explores how technology will advance the practice of medicine, improve health, and empower patients, Medicine X features breakout sessions, master classes, workshops, pre-conference sessions, and special events that illuminate, challenge, and inspire. ePatients are central to the Medicine X experience.

“We seek ePatients who have a story to tell—not necessarily those who can give a slick presentation,” said Sarah E. Kucharski, Coordinator of ePatient Programs. “New voices need to be heard. Medicine X strives to empower growing advocates as well as amplify those who already have achieved great things.”

In previous years, the Medicine X ePatient scholarship program has offered three tracks — Presenter, Design and Engagement — for patients to become involved in the academic conference focused on the future of medicine and health care. This year Medicine X will target new patient populations with the addition of Entrepreneurship, Precision Medicine and Research, and Educator tracks. Application periods for the Design, Educator, Engagement, Entrepreneurship, Precision Medicine and Research tracks will open in late 2015 and early 2016.

Medicine X welcomes and empowers doctors, patients, web developers, researchers, entrepreneurs, pharmaceutical representatives, insurance representatives, and med students to find solutions that make health care better. Medicine X is not an industry conference. It’s an inclusive experience.

Marie Ennis O'Connor, a breast cancer survivor and noted social media curator from Ireland, was selected as an ePatient Delegate in 2015 and 2016.

Marie Ennis O’Connor, a breast cancer survivor and noted social media curator from Ireland, was selected as an ePatient Delegate in 2015 and 2016.

The Medicine X scholarship program provides full or partial scholarships to cover ePatients’ conference registration costs plus travel and accommodations funding for patients with indentified needs. Scholarship recipients also receive mentoring, speech coaching, and other skills training particular to their track.

Allison Ferlito, a 2015 Engagement Track ePatient Scholar, recalled the advice she received from a previous year’s alum: “If you are thinking about applying to Stanford Medicine X, you should apply.” It’s what she now too tells other ePatients.

“If you are a budding ePatient, MedX is the place where you will blossom. You will find your voice amongst your newfound family, and you will return home with a multifaceted perspective that makes you a more confident, informed, and creative advocate,” she said.

Applications to the Presenter track must be submitted by 11 a.m. EST (8 a.m. PST) on Tuesday, Nov. 17th. There are two parts to the application—a short-answer online form and call-in presentation pitch. Presenter Track applicants are not required to have prior experience with the Ignite format in which 20 slides automatically advance every 15 seconds; however, applicants should demonstrate a clear idea for their talk, a desire to share their knowledge, passion for their cause, and dedication to fulfilling their role as a scholarship recipient before, during, and after the conference.

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Stanford Medicine X | Symplur Signals Research Challenge Winner Announcement Mon, 17 Aug 2015 23:58:46 +0000 In February of this year we invited patients, physicians, researchers, technologists, informaticians, and all health care stakeholders to submit proposals to our Stanford Medicine X | Symplur Signals Research Challenge: a joint initiative designed to spark scholarly research activity in health care social media.

We challenged people to submit proposals addressing one of the questions below:

  • How is social media transforming health care in 2015?
  • How is social media being used to innovate medical education?
  • How did social media contribute to the Medicine X conference in 2014 (#MedX)?

We received an unprecedented amount of submissions, and ten finalists were selected to submit research abstracts. We consulted thoughtful, independent peer reviewers and careful deliberations from our award jury. Our judges for the 2015 Research Challenge were:

  • Kevin A. Clauson, Pharm.D, College of Pharmacy at Lipscomb University
  • Chris Paton BMBS, University of Oxford
  • Francisco J. Grajales PhD, The University of British Columbia

With judgement criteria based on methodological rigor, innovativeness, and alignment with the contest rules and core themes, we are thrilled to announce the grand prize winning research abstract, “Defining digital communities of practice using a Netnographic framework for hashtag analytics.”

The winning team—Damian Roland PhD of the University of Leicester, Daniel Cabrera MD of Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and Jesse Spur BN of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital—worked together to substantiate an online healthcare community through systematic deduction techniques. Using Symplur Signals analytics tool, they validated the Free Open Access Medical education (FOAM) community as a digital community of practice (dCOP). You can read about their findings below.

On Sunday September 27th, 2015, Dr. Roland will present their research to conference attendees on the Medicine X main stage, broadcasted to our global audience. On behalf of Medicine X and Symplur, we congratulate them on their dedication to the intersection of health care and social media, and we proudly award their research the grand prize  for the Stanford Medicine X | Symplur Signals Research Challenge!



We would also like to recognize our runner-up abstract, “Social media versus citation metrics as measures of dissemination within medical education.” From the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine, Christopher J. Ramnanan Ph.D., Timothy J. Wood Ph.D., and John J. Leddy, Ph.D. worked as a team to determine that social media metrics cannot be compared with citation metrics in measuring academic impact. Their findings are attached below.



Finally, we would like to recognize all of our finalists for the Stanford Medicine X | Symplur Signals Research Challenge. Their research pursuits were deeply rooted in a passion for improving the landscapes of medicine and technology; the authors and their abstract titles are below to acknowledge each team’s participation and commitment to interdisciplinary research.


Title: Efficacy of Social Media Initiatives for Suicide Prevention and At-Risk Account Identification
First Author: Mandi Bishop
Corresponding Author: Lauren Still
Co-author: Nick Kypreos, PhD


Title: Twitter as Healthcare Advisor
First Author: Christophe Giraud-Carrier, PhD, Brigham Young University
Corresponding Author: Christophe Giraud-Carrier, PhD, Brigham Young University
Co-authors:Kyle Prier, MHS, Brigham Young University


Title: An Antivax Outbreak: The Twitter Dynamics of the 2015 Disneyland Measles Outbreak
First Author: Saul Hymes, MD, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital
Corresponding Author: Saul Hymes, MD, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital
Co-author: Christina Gagliardo, MD, Maimonides Infants and Children’s Hospital of Brooklyn


Title: Content Analysis of Tweets of Pregnant Women with Diabetes
First Author/Corresponding Author: Iris Thiele Isip Tan MD, MSc, University of the Philippines Medical Informatics Unit
Co-authors: Helen V. Madamba MD, MPH-TM, Cebu Doctors University University College of Medicine
Rene James P. Balandra Jr. BS Computer Science, University of the Philippines National Telehealth Center


Title: Understanding Patient Behavior at Medical Conferences: Motives, Message, and Meaning
First Author: Loran Cook, B.S. Urban Policy Studies, Georgia State University, Billian’s HealthDATA
Corresponding Author: Jessica Clifton, B.S. Psychology, University of Georgia, Billian’s HealthDATA
Co-authors: Jennifer Dennard, B.S. Journalism, University of Georgia, HISTalk


Title: The Canary in the Coal Mine Tweets: Twitter Insights on Opioid Misuse
First Author: Urmimala Sarkar, MD, MPH, San Francisco General Hospital
Corresponding Author:
Urmimala Sarkar, MD, MPH, San Francisco General Hospital
Gem M. Le, PhD, MHS, Epidemiologist, San Francisco General Hospital
Brian Chan, MD, MPH, Clinical Fellow, San Francisco General Hospital
Byron C. Wallace, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin, Austin


Title: Healthcare hashtag index development: identifying global impact in social media
First Author: Luís Pinho-Costa, MD, Fânzeres Family Health Unit, Gondomar (Portugal)
Corresponding Author: Luís Pinho-Costa, MD, Fânzeres Family Health Unit, Gondomar (Portugal)
Co-authors: Kenneth Yakubu, FWACP FMCFM MB.BS, Department of Family Medicine, University of Jos (Nigeria)
Kyle Hoedebecke, MD CKTP RMT, Department of Family Medicine, Robinson Health Clinic (USA)
Liliana Laranjo, MD MPH, Portuguese School of Public Health (Portugal)
Christofer Patrick Reichel, MD, Austrian Association for General Practitioners and Family Medicine, Vienna (Austria)
Maria del C Colon-Gonzalez MD, Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio (USA)
Ana Luísa Neves, MD MSc, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London (UK) / Department of Social Sciences and Health, Unit of Family Medicine, University of Porto (Portugal)
Hassna Errami, MD, Department of Family Medicine, University of Toulouse, Paul Sabatier (France)


Title: Exploring public health and healthcare stakeholder engagement using network and content analyses
First Author: Kristina M. Rabarison, DrPH, MS – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Population Health
Corresponding Author: Kristina M. Rabarison, DrPH, MS – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Population Health
Co-authors: Merriah A. Croston, MPH – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Population Health



Grand Prize Winning Abstract

Defining digital communities of practice using a Netnographic framework for hashtag analytics”



Networks are vital in improving patient care through fostering collaboration, stimulating engagement and promoting learning(1). The advent of social media as an educational tool is based on the assumption that activity in online networks can lead to the emergence of digital communities of practice (dCoP). A CoP was defined by Wenger(2) as having a community, a domain (knowledge) and a practice (application of the knowledge), later Aveling et al.(3) refined and applied the concept to healthcare.

No medical education dCoP has been proven to exist, however an international movement directed to create, collaborate and curate medical knowledge has arisen from the critical care and emergency medicine communities in social media. This group is self-denominated FOAM (Free Open Access Medical education)(4–6).

We aim to prove that the FOAM community, via their Twitter #FOAMed hashtag, constitutes a dCoP. We hypothesize it should be possible to identify the community, the domain, and the practice of the network. The proof will be tested by using a Netnographic(7) approach to the analysis of the relevant Twitter hashtag provided by the Symplur Signals analytic tool(8,9).


The database for #FOAMed was interrogated from March 1 2013 to February 28th 2015. In order to reduce potential bias in analysis, a protocol was submitted to the Symplur Signals team on the 18th May 2015 clearly defining an a priori analytical strategy. The aim to define data consistent with a refined definition of a healthcare dCoP and identify #FOAMed metrics that support this conceptualization.


During the period of activity there were one thousand million Twitter© impressions from over more than 290000 individual tweets (Table 1).  Table 2 summarises the findings from the #FOAMed metrics for each domain of a health dCoP (Table 2).


The analytics evidence a community with a large numbers of users and a remarkable level of engagement and persistence in participation. The network centrality analysis (Figure 1) and conversation identifiers (Figure 2) as well as the degree distribution of the nodes illustrate a rich and diverse network. The diversity accurately represents multidisciplinary healthcare teams including physicians, non-physicians healthcare providers, medical students, primary researchers, and organizations with members distributed around the world. The proof of the emergence of a dCoP oriented to creation, curation and dissemination of knowledge is a paradigm change in medical education. The concept of education based on principals of communities of practice have been described(10) but the existence of a formal dCoP in medical education has never been shown before, although its theoretical benefits have been proposed and anxiously anticipated(11,12)


Using a Netnography framed methodology, we examined the Free Open Access Meducation (FOAM) movement, as defined by the Twitter #FOAMed hashtag, and evaluated its performance as a dCoP using previously validated criteria. It demonstrated concordance with all aspects of a community of practice. This supports the proposition that this innovative use of social media is a powerful educational process likely to expedite knowledge translation for its participants and impact clinical practice with resulting patient benefit.

Supporting Section


  1.  Greenhalgh T, Wieringa S. Is it time to drop the “knowledge translation” metaphor? A critical literature review. J R Soc Med. 2011 Dec 1;104(12):501–9.
  2.  Wenger E. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity [Internet]. Cambridge University Press; 1999. Available from:
  3.  Aveling E-L, Martin GP, Armstrong N, Banerjee J, Dixon-Woods M. Quality Improvement through Clinical Communities: Eight Lessons for Practice. J Health Organ Manag [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2015 Apr 24];26(2).
  4.  Cadogan M, Thoma B, Chan TM, Lin M. Free Open Access Meducation (FOAM): the rise of emergency medicine and critical care blogs and podcasts (2002–2013). Emerg Med J. 2014; 31
  5.  Nickson CP, Cadogan MD. Free Open Access Medical education (FOAM) for the emergency physician. Emerg Med Australasia. 2014;26(1):76–83.
  6.  Sherbino J, Frank JR. @SirBill: the power of social media to transform medical education. Postgrad Med J. 2014 Oct;90(1068):545–6.
  7.  Kozinets RV. The Field Behind the Screen: Using Netnography for Marketing Research in Online Communities. J Mark Res. 2002;39(1):61–72.
  8.  The Healthcare Hashtag Project [Internet]. Symplur. [cited 2014 Oct 1]. Available from:
  9.  Symplur Signals [Internet]. Symplur. [cited 2015 Jun 14]. Available from:
  10.  Li LC, Grimshaw JM, Nielsen C, Judd M, Coyte PC, Graham ID. Evolution of Wenger’s concept of community of practice. Implement Sci. 2009 Mar 1;4(1):11.
  11.  Wilcock PM, Janes G, Chambers A. Health care improvement and continuing interprofessional education: Continuing interprofessional development to improve patient outcomes. J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2009;29(2):84–90.
  12.  Stamps D. Communities of Practice. Learning Is Social, Training Is Irrelevant? Training 1997 Jan;34(2):34–42.


Figure 1 – #FOAMed network centrality analysis from dates March 1st 2013 to February 28th 2015


Caption: A Network centrality graph shows users most central to the conversation. The larger the node, the more frequently mentioned the user is. Edges between nodes indicate direct communications between the users. This calculation used the 300 top members in the community.


Figure 2: #FOAMed conversation identifier analysis from dates March 1st 2013 to February 28th 2015


Caption: The Conversation Identifiers report graphs the connections among Twitter users most central to the conversation over a set period of time.


Table 1. Overview metrics for the #FOAMed analysis from dates March 1st 2013 to February 28th 2015

Metric Total Per Month Per Week Per Day Per Hour
Tweets 295832 12174 2841 406 17
Users who tweeted 36908 1518.85 354.398 50.6283 2
Tweets per user 8.0154 0.3299 0.0769 0.0101 0.0005
Impressions 1032777612 42501136 9916932 1416705 59029.4
Impressions per user 27982.5 1151.54 268.693 38.3848 1.59936

Number are rounded to the nearest whole number (except tweets per user which was rounded to 4 decimal places)

Table 2. Results of #FOAMed analysis to illustrate each proof related to a domain of the definition of a community of practice.

Definition of Community of Practice #FOAMed Proof Symplur Results
Emergence of a community:i) Are formed of interdependent groups and individuals The #FOAMed community demonstrate growing number of users (nodes) with increasing engagement and flow of information (ties) between them. The community is formed by more than 36000 members, with an average of 1537 new users per month. The overall members’ geographic location is in Anglophone countries, with smaller groups in the Europe, Latin America and AsiaNetwork centrality calculation (using 300 top members, with a node distance of 250 and a node attractions of 180) showed nodes with more influence and clusters of users associated to them (Figure 2).
ii) Consist of members who may cross clinical and organisational boundaries; #FOAMed hashtag is used by a variety of individuals and organisations We extracted a representative sample of the top 10% more active user (by number of Tweets), studying 3691 members of the community (Appendix A). We used a Symplur Signals semantic analysis tool, surveying keywords on the users’ profiles and organizing by healthcare category. From this sample, 1740 (48.95) were not able to be categorized, a total of 918 (24.8%) were identified as physicians, 368 as non-physician healthcare provider (10.1%), 425 as organizations (11.7%) and a smaller number of patients and researchers/academics
Emergence of a domaini) Members are united by the common purpose of bridging the gap between best scientific evidence and current clinical practice (Knowledge Creation). The #FOAMed community is united by the explicit goal of the creation and dissemination of medical knowledge to achieve an environment of free open access medical education and therefore knowledge translation. A word analysis shows the most common words used in building the units of content circulate around the concepts of education, free access, ultrasound, trauma, ECGs and importantly, the methods of dissemination of the community: Twitter©, YouTube©, Vimeo©, iTunes©, WordPress©
ii) Members exploit the characteristics of network-managed knowledge for creation and dissemination (Distributed network). #FOAMed generates a large and distributed network with a high degree distribution of nodes creating knowledge and distributing the content in a free manner based on the meaning and importance of the knowledge by the members of the group or subgroups. The analysis of the top 100 retweets from the most active members is consistent with the network centrality calculations, identifying members with a more central role in the fabric of the community as a function of retweets of the content generated by them. The members appear as network hubs around which clusters of users centralize.
iii) Communities use the power of the communal knowledge, contextual meaning and shared worked to solve problems (Shared knowledge) The #FOAMed community is created by creation and participation, while forming a regimen of competence where understanding of the group, engagement with other and the creation of resources if primordial. Shared (content showed a very concentrated distribution of sources for the knowledge, demonstrating a common discourse of what is relevant for the community; some being curation of traditional publication (National Center for Biotechnology Information) or open access platforms sites such as, or platforms that work for dissemination of content (Twiter© or YouTube©).
Emergence of a practicei) Members are committed to translate knowledge into praxis (Knowledge translation and practice change management). The #FOAMed community is able to create knowledge translation and convert the information created and managed in the network into practice change. The overall sentiment measurement of the top tweets of the FOAM community showed a largely neutral tone with values of 0.386 for positive, 0.296 for neutral and 0.318 for negative. In terms of a language analysis, it appears to be focused on actionable items. The terms “need”, “use”, “care” and “education” are quite frequent in the language use. The distribution of the knowledge can be observed in the use of the retweets and is consistent with actionable items and information, aimed to education
ii) Communities operate in vertical and horizontal structures and hierarchies (Hierarchical structures). The #FOAMed community has members (nodes) with a high centrality but also contains members of low centrality with high degrees of distribution. The network centrality displays the relative intensity and closeness of the ties between the nodes (Figure 1), the chart shows members of the network with increased importance and centrality, but at the same time the degree of distribution is high, which suggests a flat hierarchy. This horizontal hierarchy can be also inferred from the high number of participants in the discussion
iii) Members use social control and negotiation mechanisms to assign value and achieve change (Value and change). The #FOAMed community is able to manage content and its relevance as a function of the impact (sharing, strong) of the knowledge created and also as a function of the vetting process of high centrality nodes. The creation of value can be described as a function of the retweets, as well as the general number of tweets and tweets per user (Table 1). The deliverables are manifested by the large number of tweets with links and the redirection to Internet domains related to knowledge

The definition of a community of practice is spread across emergence of a community, emergence of a domain and an emergence of a practice.

Runner-up Abstract

Social media versus citation metrics as measures of dissemination within medical education.”


Main Section

Introduction: Social media (SoMe) metrics may be useful tools to assess educational scholarship beyond traditional scholarship metrics such as citation counts (1). While SoMe metrics may be indicative of academic influence and impact (2), how to account for them as forms of dissemination, especially in comparison to traditional measures, is unclear (3-5).  For example, individuals who are highly followed and also highly cited could indicate that SoMe metrics are related to dissemination but for individuals who have a low citation:follower ratio it is less clear how SoMe metrics relate to dissemination (6).  The purpose of this study is to characterize the relationship between SoMe and citation metrics for articles and individuals in medical education. These results may inform medical educators as to the value of SoMe metrics as measures of scholarship in relation to the value of traditional indices.

Methods: Using Symplur analytic resources, Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME) tweets for the 2012, 2013, and 2014 conferences were analyzed to generate a list of medical educators. We also looked at Canadian university-associated medical education centers to identify academics without a Twitter presence at the CCME. From this list of 229 medical educators, we correlated their Twitter metrics with Scopus-generated citation metrics. Additionally, we correlated citations with article-level metrics (altmetrics, which incorporates SoMe data and bibliography program data) for all papers (n=364) published between Dec. 2012 and May 2013 in three general medical education journals with the highest impact factors: Academic Medicine, Medical Education, and Advances in Health Sciences Education.

Results: For individuals, the correlation values between citation metrics and followers were 0.008 (P<0.90) and 0.009 (P<0.89) for the career and the 2010-2014 periods, respectively (Fig. 1).  The citation/follower ratio tended to be lowest for the most active CCME Twitter users and many of the most highly cited individuals had either low amounts of Twitter followers or were not on Twitter at all. For papers, the main altmetrics associated with medical education papers were Twitter mentions and Mendeley (a bibliography application) downloads, while other platforms were seldom used for dissemination (Table 1). The correlations between citations and all altmetrics studied were low and did not reach significance (P<0.05) for any altmetric, including the most commonly used SoMe metric, Twitter mentions (Fig. 2).

Discussion: There were no significant relationships between any of the SoMe metrics and citations, on either an individual- or an article-level. Before using SoMe measures as a form of dissemination for scholarship, several issues were identified that should be addressed.  For example, author retweets may influence paper Twitter counts, and Twitter mention and Mendeley download counts may only be a small fraction of the number of times a paper is accessed.

Conclusion: Our data suggests that, both for individuals and for papers, SoMe metrics are not reflective of traditional, citation-based measures of academic impact. While it is possible that SoMe metrics are related to paper access counts, this relationship should be confirmed in future studies before SoMe metrics can be used as tools to assess academic dissemination.



  1. Lafferty NT, Manca A. Perspectives on social media in and as research: A synthetic review. Int Rev Psychiatry 2015; 27(2): 85-96.
  2. Stewart B. Open to influence: what counts as academic influence in scholarly networked Twitter participation. Learn Media Technol 2015; Epub ahead of print.
  3. Eysenbach G. Can tweets predict citations? Metrics of social impact based on Twitter and correlation with traditional metrics of scientific impact. J Med Internet Res 2011; 13(4):e123.
  4. Haustein S, Peters I, Sugimoto CR, Thelwall M, Larviere V. Tweeting biomedicine: An analysis of tweets and citations in the biomedical literature. J Assoc Inform Science Technol 2014; 65(4): 656-669.
  5. Fox CS, Bonaca MA, Ryan JJ, Massaro JM, Barry K, Loscalzo J. A randomized trial of social media from Circulation. Circulation 2015; 131(1): 28-33.
  6. Hall N. The Kardashian index: a measure of discrepant social media profile for scientists. Genome Biol 2014; 15(7): 424.


Figure 1. Citations as a function of Twitter followers for a population of Canadian medical educators.  A list of 229 medical educators affiliated with Canadian medical schools was generated from the Symplur database of individuals who tweeted at the Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME) at the 2012, 2013, and 2014 meetings (using hashtags #CCME2012, #CCME13, or #CCME14). Medical educators associated with Canadian medical school-affiliated medical education centers were also included, to represent individuals who are not active on Twitter during the CCME. A) Career citations as a function of Twitter followers. B) Citations in the most recent completed 5 year period (2010-2014) as a function of Twitter followers.


Figure 2. Citations as a function of Twitter mentions for medical education articles published between December 2012 and May 2013 in Academic Medicine, Medical Education, and Advances in Health Sciences Education. No significant relationship was identified between citations and Twitter mentions in any of these three journals.


Table 1. Social media tools used in the dissemination of medical education journal articles published between December 2012 and May 2013.  The articles characterized were published in three of the highest impact, general interest medical education journals. The social media data was generated for each article using the Altmetrics tool.




Stanford Medicine X is the leading academic conference on emerging technology and medicine. As a world-leader in social media engagement, Medicine X 2014 generated more than 160,000,000 social media impressions, trended #1 on Twitter and reached an estimated 5,500,000 unique individuals during the three day conference in September 2014.

Symplur is the leading social media healthcare analytics firm. Its research analytics tool, Signals, aims to empower decision-making with real-time access to insights from over a billion healthcare social media data points. Symplur Signals is a web-based platform that invites an unparalleled voyage deep into the analytics of the global Twitter based conversations swirling around the topic of healthcare.

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Stanford Medicine X | Health Care Design Awards Tue, 02 Jun 2015 22:09:23 +0000

Medicine X is proud to announce the launch of our international health care design awards. The program aims to encourage and recognize outstanding accomplishments in patient-centered health care design according to our Medicine X health care design values and beliefs:

  1. We believe thoughtful design is essential to innovation in health care and medicine across all domains (education, clinical care and research);
  2. We believe health care design is better when done in partnership with patients;
  3. We believe that good design in health care involves the participation of the entire health care team, empathy for patients and their families, and a deep understanding of the social and local context where health happens;
  4. We believe in designing for problems that matter most in health care;
  5. The defining criteria for the Stanford Medicine X | Health Care Design Awards are excellence, innovation and potential or proven ability to improve the quality of health through design.

The Stanford Medicine X | Health Care Design Awards were created to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of those who share our values and believe in the value of good design in health care.

Submit a nomination today. The application is free!

The Stanford Medicine X | Health Care Design Awards were created to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of those who share our values and believe in the value of good design in health care.

Award categories

The recipients of the 2015 Medicine X | Design Awards will be recognized in the following categories.

  1. Director’s Award
    Given to an individual or group in recognition of outstanding support and leadership of patient-centered design excellence within the health care design community. This award is selected by the Executive Director of Medicine X.
  2. Design Excellence Medal
    Given to an individual or group in recognition of excellence in one of the categories below (please note the jury may not recognize excellence in every category):

    1. Corporate, Institutional or Research
      Given to a corporation, institution or research group that embraces patient-centered design as a core value and implements participatory design with patients and health care stakeholders as a strategic tool to accomplish its mission.
    2. Service Design
      Given to an individual or group of individuals for excellence in health care service design.
    3. Product Design
      Given to an individual or group of individuals for excellence in health product design, including wearables, sensors and digital health.
    4. Patient-Driven/Patient-Designed
      Given to an individual or group of individuals who self-identify as patients to recognize excellence in designing a health care solution for their community.


Recipients will be acknowledged with a Medicine X | Design Excellence Medal and participate in a special design panel session during Medicine X 2015.


Design award entries will be judged by a distinguished jury of health care designers convened by Stanford Medicine X. Selection criteria for excellence will be based on the Stanford Medicine X health care design values stated above. We will announce our judging panel in the near future. The jury will be led by Larry Chu, MD, designer and Executive Director of Stanford Medicine X. Dr. Chu teaches two courses on design in health care at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

How to nominate

Nominations are now open and close on July 31, 2015 at 5PM PST. The application is free. Please note you can nominate your own work or the work of someone else. Apply today online.

Submit a nomination today. The application is free!

The Stanford Medicine X | Health Care Design Awards were created to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of those who share our values and believe in the value of good design in health care.

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An academic conference where everyone is included Wed, 27 May 2015 02:13:29 +0000

by Larry Chu, MD

Recently, I asked a group of our closest Medicine X friends and colleagues to join me for a three-day spring retreat in Washington, DC. As I looked around the room, I saw something remarkable.

Participating in the discussions about the future of Medicine X were a doctor, a nurse, two pharmacists, an Internet geologist, a hospital administrator, a policy leader, three patient community builders, artists, designers, and a dog.

Our conversations about our values at Medicine X mapped out concepts such as “give every person the dignity they deserve”, “value and respect the experience each person brings”, and “give everyone permission to be human.”

At our founding four years ago we set out to create a world-leading patient engagement program where:

  1. At least 10% of our seats would be allocated to patients;
  2. Selection of patients for our programs would be merit-based and needs-blind, and conducted in a peer-reviewed and transparent selection process;
  3. Travel, housing and program scholarships would be awarded on a financial-need basis;
  4. Wellness programs would be created to care for our patients and delegates;
  5. Free open-access video livestream and social media would be used to engage those unable to attend in person and join the conversation.

Because of these founding principles, we are sometimes referred to as “the patient conference”. Our conference tag line at inception was “an academic medical conference designed for everyone”. We still believe a better future for health care requires everyone’s voice.

Including patients at health care conferences helps provide a vital voice to the problems that matter most to patients and their families. It can help uncover new insights into treatments and new opportunities to address unmet needs. Including patients helps everyone remain focused on the ultimate goal in health care: to create health together with patients.

Lucien Engelen’s #patientsincluded program is a laudable initiative which aims to include the patient voice in health care conferences. It is clear that a lot of thought was taken in crafting the guidelines for becoming a #patientsincluded conference. Recent discussions on Twitter have shown me that there is a growing interest for more conferences to include patients into the program. This initiative is one mechanism that might help conference organizers accomplish this goal.

However, Medicine X has already evolved beyond the #patientsincluded model.

In 2013, Medicine X created a student leadership program that aimed to bring students from all phases of training and all health care disciplines to Medicine X. We had pre-medical, medical, pharmacy, nursing and PhD students speak from the main stage, co-design the wellness programs, and engage from the audience of Medicine X. Better yet, these students worked together with our ePatient scholars to accomplish these goals.


Thinking back to our recent Washington DC sessions, the one word curiously missing from the group when defining our values was the word “patient”. In its place we found ourselves saying “person” or “individual”.

It is quite clear to us that patients are experts in many aspects of their own condition and the greatest untapped resource in health care. However, the glimpse of the future I saw in our sessions in Washington moved the needle beyond “patients” to “people”.

The magic of Medicine X isn’t just that we include patients in the program; it is that we always try to include everyone (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technologists, researchers, industry, patients and caregivers) in the conversation about the future of health care. What seem to be missing from most medical conferences are the voices of the entire team working together to improve patient health and advance the potential of health care. Until conferences get this right, we will continue to be silos within health care talking to ourselves.

What’s important is not to simply make an effort to include patients, but to actually foster collaboration among all stakeholders while expecting patients to co-design the experience with all other stakeholders. And that’s what Medicine X does so well.

The excitement and energy from the time our Medicine X advisors spent together in Washington was electric. Our group represented nearly every facet of health care. Patients had seats at the table as people valued for their expertise in co-designing the health care experience.

There is room for many at the starting line of the “patient engagement” race and it is important to keep in mind this work is a marathon, not a sprint. Medical conferences should support the #patientsincluded initiative. Including patients is a great first step, but it doesn’t go far enough. It is just the starting block. At Medicine X, we have grander ambitions. We envision a health care system where all involved are represented and respected and where the patient voice has parity with all others. Creating true change will require engagement from the entire team.

What’s the future of health care that I’m excited to see? The one where #everyonesincluded.


Hugo Campos, Jamia Crockett, Nick Dawson, Gilles Frydman, Britt Johnson, Sarah E. Kucharski, and Christopher Snider contributed to this blog post.

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MedX pops up in Los Angeles Sun, 10 May 2015 17:52:28 +0000

On May 6, 2015 Liza Bernstein, Stanford Medicine X | LA region community organizer launched our first pop-up event outside of the San Francisco bay area. Joined by Karten Design and held at  Maker City LA, a crowd of over 100 joined us for an evening devoted to a key aspect of healthcare innovation: Patient-centered design.

MedX Pop-up LA!
MedX Pop-up LA!Stanford Medicine X launched its inaugural pop-up event in the Los Angeles region at MakerCity LA with Karten Design and Matcha Source

The evening kicked off with an Ignite! talk from a local Medicine X ePatient Scholar Nikki Estañol, followed by a presentation from Stuart Karten, founder of Karten Design, and a panel discussion with Britt Johnson, alumni of the Medicine X IDEO Design Challenge. The evening was capped off by special guest appearances from Larry Chu, MD, Executive Director of Medicine X and Zoë Chu, MedX mascot, who flew in from Stanford to join the event.

Our pop-up events are a new initiative to bring Medicine X to new communities in different regions throughout the world.  These live events are hosted by Stanford Medicine X ePatient Scholar alumni and community organizers.

Join our Los Angeles region meet-up group to stay informed of future pop-up events. Medicine X photographer Christopher Kern was also on site to capture the fun. You can view his photos from the event here.

Event Partners

Stanford Medicine X gratefully acknowledges the support of the organizations below who made our inaugural event in Los Angeles possible.

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Ignite! stage at Medicine X Fri, 10 Apr 2015 19:32:19 +0000 I’m excited to announce that presenters at Medicine X will have a new way to share their ideas with the world this year at Stanford Medicine X.

MedX Ignite! talks are a new presentation format that we are introducing this year at our 2015 conference! These 5-minute high impact presentations will take place on our Medicine X Ignite! stage, which is being built especially for this year’s conference on the ground floor of Stanford’s LKSC conference center.

In addition to the special stage, presenters in this new Ignite! format will have a video recording of their talk published to the Medicine X YouTube channel and also on our Medicine X website. These videos will be professionally produced and published at no additional cost to the presenter.

MedX Ignite! speakers will not only benefit from feedback from our Medicine X delegates, but can use the video to succinctly explain their work on their own social media channels and profiles.

We believe our new MedX Ignite! presentation format will provide an outstanding opportunity for presenters to share the important stories and ideas that define their ground-breaking and innovative work.

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Medicine X | Symplur research challenge semi-finalists Fri, 10 Apr 2015 06:27:36 +0000 On behalf of Medicine X and Symplur, I’m delighted to announce the semi-finalists for the Stanford Medicine X | Symplur social media analytics research challenge. These semi-finalists will receive access to Symplur Signals analytics to pursue their research questions and will submit a summary of their research findings for consideration in the final stage of the challenge.

How did social media contribute to the Medicine X conference in 2014 (#MedX)?

Paul Grant (@paulgrant)

“The greatest value of social media in a congress is delivered to the delegates at the event, rather than those who are following the conversation online but not attending in person.”

It is well known that congress hashtags reach a wide audience leading up to, during, and after an organized event. While this is valuable in itself, far greater value is found in the relationships that are strengthened in person and may have been only ‘virtual’ until the event. The resulting interactions and collaborations can bring meaningful and tangible disruption to programs for changing health care. Furthermore, those who engage with social media in a congress are able to capture their own interpretation of the event, leaving a lasting impression and retention of lessons learned.

Lauren Cook (@loranstefani)

Patients/caregivers engage more during the conference when their messages solicit responses from perceived authority figures (government/policy leaders, healthcare administrators, clinical researchers or physicians) rather than responses from other patients or caregivers.

How is social media being used to innovate medical education?

Damian Roland (@damian_roland)

There is a large and quantifiable flow of information between users of social media. Patterns develop from these interactions with networks arising as information transfer increases. The advent as social media as an educational tool is based on the assumption of the emergence of digital learning communities (DLC) from these interactions.

DLC offer a open digital space for information sharing, with flat role hierarchy, a strong group identity, high engagement, rapid flow of information, content curation, and knowledge translation (KT). The latter beneficial for patients as acceleration of KT is a cornerstone of modern healthcare.

To confirm this hypothesis it should be possible to identify the flow of information between the nodes of any given network, describe relations between members of the network and recognize emerging DLCs. The Free Open Access Meducation (FOAM) movement will be utilised and #FOAMed analysed as a methodology to determine whether its fits a model of a DLC.

Jonathan Hausmann (@hausmannMD)

Medical trainees are encouraged to consume—rather than create—online content, missing a powerful learning opportunity. Creating content requires the user to reflect on an experience, identify important themes, link new ideas with previously-learned material, and generate a message in their own words, employing cognitive skills that fosters effective learning. In contrast, learning that occurs by reading a sentence is likely negligible.

Effective learning also occurs through “practice testing,” a technique that involves self-testing (generating and answering your own questions) or answering other people’s questions, yet this method is almost absent in online medical education.

We hypothesize that encouraging learners to create and share educational micro-content in the form of a question and answer set will increase content-creation by learners, promote the use of questions by the #MedEd community, and improve satisfaction with online learning by medical trainees.

Christopher Ramnanan (@ChrisRamnanan)

Our goal is to determine, for medical education research projects presented at the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Canadian Conferences in Medical Education,

  1. which Twitter keywords are associated with the most highly disseminated presentations on social media;
  2. for CCME attendees active on Twitter, determine whether individual social media metrics (ie. number of Twitter followers; activity level on Twitter) correlate with traditional metrics of research impact (ie. h index); and
  3. determine whether social media impact can predict eventual eventual publication and traditional publication impact indices (times cited, journal impact factor).

We hypothesize that there will be certain keywords (ex. subject hashtags) that will be correlated with strong social media metrics for presentations, and that at the individual level and at the article level, specific social media indices will predict traditional research impact.

Rashelle Hayes (DrRashelleHayes)

  1. What are medical schools doing to teach the newly updated obesity treatment guidelines? Who are the influences in medical education around obesity treatment training? What sites, programs, and resources are medical schools currently sending students to to learn more about obesity treatment?
  2. What are medical students and/or healthcare providers saying about obesity treatment? What are their perceived barriers to treating overweight and obese individuals?
  3. Will medical students and practicing physicians meet through twitterchats or use a hashtag (e.g. #mededobesity, #obesitytreatmenttraining) to discuss obesity treatment guidelines? What will they discuss? How engaging is the twitterchat? Hashtag? Can this be used as a supplemental learning tool/resource for training healthcare providers/medical students about obesity treatment guidelines? How feasible is it to implement this for medical school curriculum?

Tamara Moores (@TamTamMD)

Millennial educators believe that online blogs, podcasts, Twitter and the online community have revolutionized the future of medical education. An explosion of free and searchable online educational material, called FOAM (Free and Open Access Meducation), is thought to have increased the lateral engagement of medical professionals and brought thought leaders to the forefront of discussion forums, creating accessible education for everyone. To test these broad claims we will perform a randomized controlled trial that employs thought leaders to direct interest toward specific journal articles via dissemination on Twitter and blog posts.

How is social media transforming healthcare in 2015?

Christophe Giraud-Carrier (@ChristopheGC)

Internet technologies, especially social media, continue to facilitate a new paradigm, in which users actively produce and disseminate health information rather than act as passive recipients. According to the Pew Research Center, 65% of U.S. Internet users in 2014 felt that they were better informed about health and fitness than 5 years prior because of their Internet and cell phone use. In the new ecosystem, experiential knowledge about symptoms, side effects and remedies can easily be gleaned to augment and, in some cases, replace professional expertise. In September 2010, over 45% of people said they would seek a quick remedy for an everyday health issue or practical advice for coping with day-to-day health situations from other patients, friends and family. We wish to see the role that social media play in this context. In particular, we address the following research question:

What kind of responses do Twitter users receive when posting questions about their health?

Perry Gee (@gee_perry)

Our long-term research goal is to develop and promote an online diabetes community intervention that meets the support needs for the older adult with type 2 diabetes. Our preliminary data strongly suggest that adults age 65 and over are significantly underrepresented in the diabetes online community. Our objectives in this application are to identify the direct factors that promote social support in an online diabetes community, and based on that information, develop a new diabetes online community or enhance an existing diabetes online community that will promote adherence to self-management activities in older adults with type 2 diabetes. Our central hypothesis, based upon preliminary data and anecdotal published reports, is that a strategically designed and implemented online diabetes community will meet the social support needs for the older adult with type 2 diabetes and promote adherence to diabetes self-management activities.

Mandi Bishop (@MandiBPro)

Social media has become an outlet for many of those struggling with self harm, depression and suicide. Unfortunately Twitter’s poor signal-to-noise ratio often makes it difficult to connect meaningfully, and this may leave individuals with increased feelings of not belonging, isolation, and hopeless. Addressing Twitter’s engagement problem specifically as it relates to suicide prevention will improve the quality of educational and industry conversations taking place online, as well as provide insight into how clinicians may better assess suicidality in remote or telehealth settings.

Thesis Statement: There is a significant gap between the communities using the “official” hashtags talking about suicide and related mental health issues, and the people actually at risk of suicide.

Iris Thiele Isip Tan (@endocrine_witch)

Pregnancy can be difficult enough without the added burden of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Few studies have examined how women with GDM handle the diagnosis. They are time-pressured to adjust dietary habits and lifestyle to maintain good glycemic control. A systematic review showed that while women with GDM are motivated to protect their baby, there are many challenges. Little is known about factors that hinder adherence to treatment.


  1. Categorize tweets by women with GDM according to constructs of the Health Belief Model (self-efficacy, cues to action, modifying variables; perception of susceptibility, severity, benefits and barriers)
  2. Define information needs of women with GDM using tweets
  3. Assess accuracy of tweets on management of GDM using the American Diabetes Association Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes
  4. Evaluate website links shared within tweets using the Health on the Net Foundation Code
  5. Describe how information is shared on Twitter

Richard Ashdown (@rashdown)

Twitter is a primary media of communication amongst teenagers. The hypothesis is that there is a correlation between tweets reflecting self-harm in the UK (specifically the cities of Liverpool and Oxford) and reported incidence of self harm admissions to hospitals. Is twitter an accurate predictor of mental health issues – specifically self harm – amongst the teenagers of the millennial generation?

Urmimala Sarkar (@urmimalasarkar)

Problem Statement: Reported misuse of opioids is a rising public health concern in the US, with prescriptions for opioid medications nearly doubling between 1994 and 2007.

Research Questions: To what extent are non-medical use of prescription opioids discussed in social media (SoMe) ?


  1. How do tweets vary by time and geography?
  2. To what extent are tweets disseminated through SoMe?

Hypothesis: Non-medical use of prescription opioids, including aberrant behaviors, will be discussed through SoMe. Distinct communities with specific substance use/seeking patterns will emerge.

These findings will have implications for better understanding real-time trends of prescription drug safety issues. As more people adopt SoMe tools, SoMe may play a tandem role in research with current drug safety surveillance systems that are limited by delays in reporting and under-reporting. Longer term, this may suggest targeted SoMe intervention strategies to reduce opioid use.

Luís Pinho-Costa (@L_PC)

Twitter is transforming communication in Family Medicine (FM) and becoming a source of real-time engagement data, as it can be employed in producing standardized metrics of online conversations.

Global Health and sustainable universal care are gaining unique attention, and Primary Care and FM are bound to play a crucial role in alleviating the world from the greatest disease burdens and inequalities, and fostering united action. Engaging therefore with the Global Health community is of high importance for FM. Our hypothesis is that Symplur Signals infodemiology metrics can be used to gauge the growing worldwide reach of FM-based conversations on different hashtags and trends therein.

We aim to identify the FM-related hashtags that had the greatest worldwide reach in the span of 6 months, deliver a methodology for measuring their impact, and explore their relation with Global Health-themed tweets.

Kristina Rabarison (@kristina_ra)

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) presents an opportunity to promote health system integration (i.e., integration of primary care and public health). Health system integration is defined on a continuum from isolation to merger and focuses on mutual awareness, cooperation, collaboration, and partnership among primary care and public health stakeholders. For the purpose of this study, we hypothesize that ACA-related conversations on social media platforms, such as Twitter, foster mutual awareness among health system players through knowledge sharing and idea diffusion. Specifically, do primary care and public health stakeholders engage in bi-directional ACA-related Twitter conversations and do those conversations lead to the formation of geographically diverse, virtual communities that have a mutual interest in health system integration?

Saul Hymes (@IDDocHymes)

We hypothesize that by comparing the location and network dynamics of both pro- and anti-vaccine discussion on Twitter to published vaccination rates, tweet activity can be used as a surrogate marker for areas of low or high vaccination. We additionally hypothesize that current and past vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) outbreaks in low-vaccination areas will be associated temporally with high rates of preceding local anti-vaccine twitter activity. Tracking pro- and anti-vaccine tweets and tweet networks may be useful to predict areas that are more or less likely to see outbreaks of VPDs, thus allowing more appropriate and economical allocation of education and healthcare resources.

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