Background Social media describes technological applications which are used to exchange information in a virtual environment. The use of social media is increasing, in professional and social contexts, on a variety of platforms such as Twitter; however, the scope and breadth of its use to discuss end-of-life care has not previously been reported.
Aims To determine the frequency, sentiment and trend of Twitter ‘tweets’ containing palliative care-related identifiers (hashtags) and/or phrases sent by users over a 2-year period.
Methods A 2-year retrospective analysis of Twitter posts (tweets), between the 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2013, using a social media analytics tool: TopsyPro. Thirteen search terms were identified and analysed for tweet volume, frequency, sentiment and acceleration.
Results A total of 683.5K tweets containing a combination of 13 palliative care terms were analysed. The tweet volume for all terms increased by 62.3% between 2011–2012 (262.5K) and 2012–2013 (421K). The most popular terms include ‘end-of-life’ (210K), #hpm (114K) and ‘palliative care’ (93.8K). Sentiment was high with 89% of tweets rated more positive than all other tweets sent on Twitter during this period. The term ‘Liverpool Care Pathway’ experienced the highest percentage increase in tweets (55% increase) reaching a peak in July 2013.
Conclusions A lot of discussion about palliative care is taking place on Twitter, and the majority of this is positive. Social media presents a novel opportunity for engagement and ongoing dialogue with public and professional groups.
- Cultural issues
- Supportive care
- Education and training
- Terminal care
- Received 14 April 2014.
- Revision received 26 June 2014.
- Accepted 13 August 2014.
- Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.