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Twitter – a new way to learn about MR patient experience?

Twitter – a new way to learn about MR patient experience?

October 15, 2015

With 316 million monthly users, it should not come as a surprise that Twitter is way, way more than breaking news and 140-character messages from celebrities. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, the social network may also provide feedback to medical professionals on ways to improve MR experience.

500 millions tweets are sent daily, according to the company itself, and, as it turns out, many of them can tell medical professionals about how patients feel and what do they think while undergoing an MR exam.

One of investigators at Charles Sturt University in Australia, Johnathan Hewis, went through 464 tweets, connected to MR exams, in one month, and divided them into three categories – scan experience, diagnosis, and appointment.

Hewis discovered patients’ thoughts are directed on many espects of the exam, among them the cost, having to remain still, the noise the equipment generates and more. He found both negative and positive thoughts: some people did not like they could not choose the music they like for the exam, while others praised the personnel.

"This first investigation was predominantly to explore and demonstrate the viability of Twitter and social media as a potential research tool for patient care within my discipline," says Hewis. "The next stage is more focused research to help inform practice."