How effective can social media be for the growth of palliative care?

As the field itself continues to build momentum on the global scale, palliative care’s social media presence is mirroring its growth. Looking at the Center to Advance Palliative Care as a microcosm for this development, since 2013, CAPC’s Twitter following has more than doubled. A look at hashtag usage at the previous two CAPC National Seminars also points to a significant increase in social media participation. The hashtag #CAPCseminar14 was used by 406 Twitter users (nearly half of the number of seminar attendees) and garnered a total of 4,228 tweets. This was a 220% increase from usage of the previous seminar’s hashtag.

To put some faces to the stats, we asked four palliative care specialists (who all happen to be active Twitter users) how and why they use social media to raise awareness and share information on this growing medical specialty.

Here are their responses:

Emily Riegel, MD
University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS
Twitter handle: @emriegel

Cory Ingram, MD MS FAAHP
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Twitter handle: @cjingram

Torrie Fields
Cambia Health Solutions, Portland, OR
Twitter handle: @TorrieKFields

April Krutka, DO
St. Mary’s Medical Center, Grand Junction, CO
Twitter handle: @April918

Social Media and Public Awareness of Palliative Care: How You Can Help

As CAPC continues its educational efforts to increase the public’s understanding of palliative care, you have an opportunity to help spread the word to your organizations and institutions. For starters, visit our consumer YouTube page to view a series of videos that highlight the world of palliative care through the perspectives of patients, their family members and palliative care specialists of all disciplines. CAPC also recently released a video animation that defines and explains what palliative care is and how it supports people facing serious illness.

You are also encouraged to share our series of informative icons geared towards educating the public of this growing medical specialty. CAPC will be highlighting these tools on its Facebook and Twitter feeds throughout the coming months. Watch this video featuring Diane E. Meier, MD on how you can help spread the word about palliative care. You can follow Dr. Meier on Twitter here: @DianeEMeier.

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