Social Media extends the reach of medical conferences

17th July 2014 by Felix Jackson

The Internet enables people to create and exchange content through ‘Social Media’. Every minute of every day people are using highly-interactive mobile and web-based platforms to share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content. Social has fundamentally changed communication between organizations, communities and individuals. The total time spent on social media in the US across desktop and mobile devices was 88 billion minutes in July 2011 increasing by 37% to 121 billion minutes in July 2012. Social media is real and enormously significant. The companies that manage to adapt first to this social world are offered a genuine opportunity to enhance their business. So much so that the ROI of digital is often described as “your business will still be here in 5yrs time”. ASCO 2014 The activity on Twitter during the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Conference in May/June 2014 is an example of how social media is changing healthcare conferences. Conference participants simply used a hashtag (#ASCO14) in their tweets to follow and contribute to a real-time, online discussion relating to the conference. Pharmaceutical companies even joined the discussion with @Boehringer and @genetech appearing amongst the top ten influencers.


166,322,023 – Total Impressions

47,055 – Tweets

9,290 – Participants

93 – Average Tweets/Hour

5 – Average Tweets/Participant

Source: Symplur Healthcare Analytics

Stanford Medicine X 2013 A second example, is the virtual audience of Stanford’s Medicine X conference (#MedX). In 2012, almost three times more people participated virtually on Twitter than attended in person. The number of participants on Twitter growing by 169% to 3,576 during the 2013 conference. I’m sure there will be even more people participating at Stanford Medicine X in September 2014.


97,094,416 – Total Impressions

32,609 – Tweets

4,286 – Participants

97 – Average Tweets/Hour

Source: Symplur Healthcare Analytics

Summary These analytics demonstrate the importance that social media has in enabling real-time, online discussion at medical conferences. The conferences now use social media to extend their reach far beyond the attendees physically in the room.