My Latest Symplur Post is About #hcsm

While the 117,637 cumulative users, 1,366 participants with more than 100 tweets, and representation in 217 countries is fantastic #hcsm participation data, I think 20 is the most impressive number. At least 20 different tweet chat communities exist, in part, because someone participated in a #hcsm chat and wanted to do more for their community. Of course this says nothing of the non-profit organizations, outreach and advocacy programs, and other patient-generated initiatives that owe some form of thanks to the #hcsm community for planting or cultivating an idea into action. This shouldn’t discount or discredit the amazing accomplishments of the other patient communities and their respective tweet chats. But I think it’s clear that #hcsm is more than just a hashtag, it’s a social movement.

This month I wrote about “The Influence and Impact of #hcsm” for Symplur. If you like data, you should go read this.

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A Moral Obligation

This is a portion of my conversation with Dr. Mike Sevilla about the measles outbreak and the role of the medical community with respect to online discussion about things like vaccinations. My question to him, and to you my eager-readers, is do you think medical professionals have a moral obligation to speak up when misinformation is spreading online? While the Hippocratic Oath is more an abstract set of principles than a specific code of conduct these days, do you think these types of interactions are an extension of the Hippocratic Oath?

I’m curious about what makes people want to speak up in certain situations. Obviously the discussion around vaccinations is prime time as a result of the measles outbreak, despite the fact that “there is not a causal relationship between certain vaccine types and autism”. But would a flurry of doctors on social media, like the #MeaslesTruth TwitterStorm, linking to the CDC and citing other credible, reliable sources do anything to curb the hysteria? Where is the tipping point in this type of conversation that would result in rational decision making by the general public?

How might we better use social media to counteract social panic? How might we better leverage the inherent trust we place in our medical professionals to spread facts when they are most needed?

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