A President and a Pipe: Twitter at its best

A President and a Pipe: Twitter at its best

Twitter is a great platform for reporting on speakers or conferences in health care because it has the ability to encapsulate key points in bite-sized portions

I saw an excellent example of this today and it certainly didn’t hurt that the two main participants were the socially media conscious president of the Canadian Medical Association and one of Canada’s leading experts on the impact of tobacco on health.

The situation arose as CMA President Dr. Chris Simpson, live tweeted a cardiac conference from Queen’s University in Kingston, ON where he heads the cardiology department.

One of the speakers was Dr. Andrew Pipe, Chief of the Division of Prevention and Rehabilitation at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and Canada’s foremost expert on smoking cessation.

In 10 just tweets, Simpson captured some real pearls from Pipe:

  • #queenscardiac2014 welcomes Dr. Andrew Pipe: Stalking the zombies of smoking cessation.
  • Most Canadian hospitals can’t tell you how many of their patients are smokers, says Dr. Pipe.
  • Smoking cessation is one of the most cost-effective interventions in medicine
  • Smokers do not need more education, says Dr. Pipe. They want our help
  • Smoking is not a “habit”, says Dr. Pipe. It is a tenaciously addictive drug.
  • Pipe talks about the “devious behaviour” underpinning cigarette design and manufacture.
  • Nicotine goes straight to the addiction centres of the brain in 4-6 seconds: Dr. Pipe.
  • Patients with chronic mental health issues die 25 years earlier than those without. The main reason: smoking.
  • The tobacco industry’s interest in e-cigarettes should tell us something.
  • Smoking cessation is not just the responsibility of the fam doc says Dr. Pipe. Hospitals must do better with inpatients.

This is, I think, an example of one of the ways Twitter really shows its strength.


2 thoughts on “A President and a Pipe: Twitter at its best

  1. Pat, I still don’t get it. I find these as frustrating as sound-bites. No context – just naked, undeveloped thoughts. And I think if I were live-tweeting, I’d be afraid of missing something. I know this doesn’t replace paragraph-based coverage after the fact, but I fear that it jeopardizes accomplishing that.

  2. Hi Pat – although each of Dr. Simpson’s tweets sounds impressive, they might be a whole lot more meaningful if at least some of them included an actual link to some solid evidence, or a source for the stats, or the original journal paper upon which statements (like the one on smoking’s link with mental health/life span) are based. Otherwise, they’re just as likely to qualify as so much spam clogging our Twitter feeds.

    When I spoke at UBC’s eHITS conference in Vancouver earlier this year (thanks again for that, by the way!), organizers asked speakers well in advance to submit a list of pre-prepared tweets (including relevant links) to accompany our slides. Organizers were then able to tweet away during presentations as slides were shown. Although many in the audience were also live-tweeting at the same time (because they can), the actual value came from those advance tweets submitted directly by participating presenters. And at Stanford’s Medicine X last month, Dr. Gonzalo Bacigalupe went one step further by using his own prepared tweets as his live slides during his talk.

    If more presenters and conference organizers adopted these unique practices, we might be able to cut down on binge-tweeting of dubious quality.

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