ESO Committee Corner: Social Media Committee

The WHO defined eHealth or digital healthcare as the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health. This is a controversial entity becoming more relevant every year. The interest toward e-health is becoming a priority for the medical community, charities, patients/families suffering from many diseases as well as stroke. Main examples of e-health (excluding telemedicine and related activities) are: i) social media use; ii) scientific information sharing through the net.

The ESO Social media committee developed in 2019 a strategy to monitor the interest on stroke in public social media. We extracted the relative monthly frequency of the search terms: “stroke”, “ictus”, “schlaganfall” and “avc” from January 2004 to present days using Google tools. The extraction was done using the subgroup area of health in the all world as geographical area. The search term diabetes was adopted as reference together with other popular search terms (e.g: the football player Cristiano Ronaldo and the popstar Ariana Grande). This field of analysis is called infodemiology. The concept of was introduced as an attempt to assess the pattern of information on public health via the web. It represents a basic technique for health research in the Web. Google Trends for example provides publicly accessible information regarding search behaviors in a population, which may be studied and used for health campaign monitoring.

We observed how the interest on stroke was generally 2 times lower than interest on diabetes, up to 10 times less to interest in various celebrities (full ESOC data here abstract and a paper authored by the group published on Telemedicine and e-health).

The global trend of information demand upon stroke is not increasing in the last years, and still too far from other relevant medical conditions (diabetes). Despite its heavy social impact the interest on stroke is far from being comparable to that of other futile popular topics. Specific social media campaigns need to be developed to focus the interest of larger public
on stroke. The use of social media influencers is probably the key point.

That’s why we invited two promising international YouTubers to visit the ESOC of Milan and address a message (from the podium of the main room) to their public. The result was a nice story in which Sebastiano Serafini (Italian singer, model, songwriter) and Eriko Kawasaki (Japanese singer, model, reporter) with the help of Italian ESO Fellows (Valeria Caso and Francesco Corea) described warning signs, epidemiology and therapy of stroke (in Italian and English). The overall result was a cumulative (youtube +instagram) 10k visualizations, 200 direct comments, 1.2k likes.A special support was offered by the Brno based team of the Hobit projekt the leader Hana Pokorna reported about the #ACTFAST challenge using a dedicated emoticon and web page. We see in this strategies the best way to share a common language with national  communities, understand the web public and bring Stroke to the larger attention of the world.