#Cardiology Ontology: Using Hashtags to Improve #CVD Care

This post was authored by R. Jay Widmer, MD, PhD (@DrArgyle);  Carolyn M. Larsen, MD (@carolynmarieMN); Robert A. Harrington, MD, FACC (@HeartBobH); T. Jared Bunch, MD (@TJaredBunch); John P. Erwin, III, MD, FACC (@HeartOTXHeartMD); John M. Mandrola, MD, FACC (@drjohnm); and Farris K. Timimi, MD, FACC (@FarrisTimimi), members of the Cardiovascular Symplur Ontology Project.

Following in the footsteps of several other specialties, cardiology now has a hashtag ontology page dedicated to facilitating social media use for providers and the wider health care community. The aim of the cardiology ontology page is to assemble and disseminate hashtags pertinent to cardiovascular diseases. This enables health care professionals, patients and family members to organize discussions surrounding cardiovascular medicine in an effort to keep the interest of the patient foremost.

We often hear, “Oh it’s so vast and overwhelming, there’s no way I could be on Twitter” when approaching colleagues about a recent fruitful encounter on one of the largest social media platforms in the world. Although cardiology only occupies a small fraction of the over 300 million viewers and billions of tweets generated daily on Twitter, the potential value cardiovascular disease providers can garner and large impact they can have on public health is beyond immense. However, just like any medication or therapy we suggest or prescribe to our patients, social media must be palatable and easily navigated in order to have broad uptake. One means by which this can be accomplished is by codifying a set of terms common in cardiology, and much like our colleagues in oncology, radiation oncology, and recently urology, providing a cardiovascular ontology around which patients and providers can easily identify specific entities within the world of cardiology.

The clear success of other medical ontologies, as evidenced by recent publications regarding its use and efficacy in both oncology, and urology, supports the notion that this idea can be successful. Furthermore, the portability from oncology to radiation oncology to urology allows us to believe that creating a basic set of hashtags upon which the field can build is feasible across multiple disciplines. In fact, with so many digital health and social media savvy electrophysiologists across the world, it is a surprise that there still is not a standard hashtag patients and providers can use when discussing atrial fibrillation – an entity that affects a plurality of our patients over 70 years of age.

Thus, we have provided a reasonably comprehensive and systematic set of cardiology hashtags based on topics and coverage from the ACC, American Heart Association and European Society of Cardiology. We have built this list so that cardiologists and even patients new to social media and/or certain cardiovascular topics should easily be able to search for trending and insightful information and thought leaders related to such topics as #CVDPrev, #AFib, #cvHCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) , #Statin, and #vhdAS (aortic stenosis) , among just a few examples. Furthermore, to instill a sense of fluidity to the list, to account for new and emerging topics, we have also included such trending topics over the past year such as #TAVR, #PCSK9, and #cardioonc (cardio-oncology) with the intent to spur on new and exciting hashtags which keep pace with the evolving cardiovascular world. Our hope is that this provides a comfortable basis for those with an interest in cardiovascular disease to easily join and subsequently navigate the Twitterverse. Moreover, this will provide commonality for those across the globe to share thoughts and ideas regarding cardiology topics both novel and dogmatic.

We look forward to the introduction and utilization of this list, and furthermore invite others to continue to cultivate its presence to benefit all who seek the betterment of the field of cardiovascular diseases.

Learn more about the cardiology ontology project during the Social Media: Connectivity, Innovation and Cardiology session (#772) at ACC.16 in Chicago.

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