Insights Into Tweets Associated With Congenital Heart Disease

Insights Into Tweets Associated With Congenital Heart Disease

Sophia Alim (Independent Researcher, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0417-8.ch034

Abstract

The use of Twitter in healthcare has allowed healthcare professionals the opportunity to break down boundaries with patients. Previous Twitter studies relating to cardiology have explored features of tweets associated with professional organisations and journals focusing on cardiology. However, there have been few studies into tweets associated with congenital heart disease (CHD). This article shows the extracted and analysed study of 2,854 tweets associated with congenital heart disease. The results highlighted that the presence of a higher number of URLs, hashtags or followers didn't lead to a high number of retweets. Content analysis was carried out on 250 randomly selected tweets from the sample. Analysis of tweet content found that information was shared rather than being sought, with content sharing being the most popular style of tweet. This highlighted the power of Twitter in offering access to support to CHD suffers and families via an online platform. Support exists in various means, whether it is sharing experiences or learning more about CHD health campaigns.
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1. Introduction

Congenital heart disease (CHD) spans a wide range of birth defects that affect the inner workings of the heart. Congenital indicates that the heart condition is present at birth (NHS, 2015). One in 180 babies in the UK and one in 40,000 babies in the USA are diagnosed with CHD every year (British Heart Foundation, 2015; Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015).

With more CHD patients living into adulthood due to advances in medicine, the use of social media provides a useful platform for discussing health care. A survey of 1,060 adults from the USA discovered how age influences social media engagement. More than 90% of the adults surveyed, who were aged 18–24, would engage in health activities or trust information posted on social media. In terms of sharing content, more than 80% of 18–24-year-olds would share health information through social media. In comparison, less than 45% of adults aged 45–64 would be likely to share information via social media (Pwc, 2012). Social media consists of a variety of platforms in the medical field as illustrated in Table 1.

Table 1.
Categories of social media
Category of Social MediaDefinitionExamples
MicroblogA type of blog where users can send short messages to each other. Microblogs can be used to disseminate information and communicate with others.Twitter, Identi.ca
Social Networking Sites (SNS)Services in which users set up a profile in order to establish a connection with friends or other users who have similar backgrounds or interests.Facebook, MySpace
Theme Networking SitesSocial networking sites that are based around a particular theme such as nursing.CureDiva, PatientsLikeMe
MashupsA web page or application that combines content from more than one source to produce a new service that adds value.Google FluTrends
WikiCommunal websites in which content can be easily edited.Wikipedia
Media Sharing SitesServices that allow users to upload and share media such as videos and photos as well as allowing users to comment and tag media.YouTube, Flickr

Source: Adapted from Grajales III, Sheps, Ho, Novak-Lauscher, & Eysenbach, 2014

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