A TweetChat hosted by Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) President Scott Shapiro, MD (@sshapiromd) during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address on Jan. 12 gave physicians a chance to express their thoughts and opinions and join in the conversation.
“Our goal was to test Twitter to see if it could be used as a tool to give physicians a louder voice and increase engagement on issues,” said Dr. Shapiro. “PAMED doesn’t want to be left behind in the communications technology world, and as we move forward tools like Twitter can play a role in our advocacy work.”
President Obama highlighted several health care issues during his address that lasted slightly longer than an hour, including the opioid abuse crisis. Michael Fraser, PhD, CAE, FCPP, executive vice president and CEO of PAMED, tweeted:
#SOTUDocChat drug abuse is an opening issue in the state of the union – show how important this issue is both in PA and nationally
— Michael Fraser, PhD (@PAMEDFraser) January 13, 2016
Quite possibly, the issue in the SOTU that drew the most comments from physicians during the TweetChat came shortly after the president mentioned cures for diseases.
Specifically, in one part, President Obama said:
“Right now, we are on track to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS, and we have the capacity to accomplish the same thing with malaria — something I’ll be pushing this Congress to fund this year.”
In another part of his address, he mentioned the fight against Ebola in West Africa.
Responding to President Obama mentioning diseases and cures, Pennsylvania physicians joined in the discussion via the TweetChat. Here are a few examples:
#SOTUDOCChat Increasing fndingfor cancer research – hope we see bipartisan support! @PAMEDSociety
— Scott E Shapiro (@sshapiromd) January 13, 2016
#Medical #research is critical. Expanded #cancer research helps get us closer to cures. #SOTUDocChat #POTUS @PAMEDSociety @ASCO @CDC_Cancer
— Marilyn Heine (@MJHeine1) January 13, 2016
Our doctors…helped stop the #ebola epidemic #SOTUDocChat #POTUS
— Walter Klein MD (@WMKleinMD) January 13, 2016
Many physicians, including some out-of state, participated in the TweetChat. To see more of the conversation, go to Twitter and search the hashtag #SOTUDocChat.
PAMED’s #SOTUDocChat was also followed by many more as indicated by retweets and “likes” from Twitter users including Real Talk Dr. Offutt (@RtwithDrOffutt), I Love Public Health (@MPHPublicHealth), and the health editor at The Hindu (@VidyaKrishnan).
PAMED’s TweetChat gained media support through Physicians News Digest, which issued a special alert to its readers to promote the event. When asked for its support, editor Brad Broker quickly offered to do so and responded “Great idea.”
For PAMED’s Dr. Shapiro, the experience to host the organization’s first-ever TweetChat was groundbreaking.
“PAMED has a responsibility to investigate new technologies like Twitter that can help physicians better position themselves as health care leaders,” said Dr. Shapiro. “I’m glad we hosted this TweetChat.”