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Enhancing engagement beyond the conference walls: analysis of Twitter use at #ICPIC2019 infection prevention and control conference

Martischang, R., Tartari, E., Kilpatrick, C. , MacKenzie, G., Carter, V., Castro-Sanchez, E. ORCID: 0000-0002-3351-9496, Márquez-Villarreal, H., Otter, J. A., Perencevich, E., Silber, D., Storr, J., Tetro, J., Voss, A. & Pittet, D. (2021). Enhancing engagement beyond the conference walls: analysis of Twitter use at #ICPIC2019 infection prevention and control conference. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, 10(1), article number 20. doi: 10.1186/s13756-021-00891-1


BACKGROUND: Social media may provide a tool, when coupled with a patient-included™ conference, to enhance the engagement among the general public. We describe authors and potential readers of Twitter content surrounding a patient-included™ scientific congress, the International Consortium for Prevention and Infection Control (ICPIC) 2019.

METHODS: Retrospective observational analysis of Twitter users posting with the #ICPIC2019 hashtag during the conference. Tweet authors, overall followers, and active followers were categorized according to their Twitter biographies using unsupervised learning. Diversity of professional backgrounds of Tweet authors and their followers was explored. Network analysis explored connectedness between the reach of authors.

RESULTS: In total, 1264 participants attended ICPIC 2019, of which 28 were patients. From September 7 to 16, 2019, we were able to categorize 235'620 (41%) followers linked to 474 (76%) authors. Among authors and followers, respectively 34% and 14% were healthcare workers, 11% and 15% were from industry representatives, 8% and 7% were academic researchers. On average, 23% (range 9-39%) followers belonged to the same categories as authors. Among all followers categorized, only 582/235 620 (0.25%) interacted with original messages, including healthcare workers (37%), global and public health (12%), academic research (11%) and those from industry (11%). Though the similarity between Tweet authors and followers was supported by network analysis, we also observed that non-healthcare workers (including patients) appeared to have more diverse followers.

CONCLUSIONS: We observed the participation of numerous Tweet authors and followers from diverse professional backgrounds potentially supporting the benefit of including patients in conferences to reach a more general, non-specialized public.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Social media, Social networking, Science communication, Medtweeter, Tweeter, Twitter, Infection prevention and control, Public, Patient, Patient participation, Medical conference
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Q Science > QR Microbiology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
SWORD Depositor:
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Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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