Disease-specific hashtags and the creation of Twitter medical communities in hematology and oncology

Semin Hematol. 2017 Oct;54(4):189-192. doi: 10.1053/j.seminhematol.2017.08.004. Epub 2017 Aug 30.


Twitter is being increasingly used for information gathering and dissemination of ideas in both medical practice and scientific research. A major limitation to its use has been the surplus of available information and difficulty in categorizing that information into topics of individual interest. However, a Twitter feature known as the hashtag (#), which denotes a specific category or topic, helps in streamlining this wealth of information. The creation and adoption of disease-specific hashtags by healthcare stakeholders has led to a greater uniformity of medical discussions that can be retrieved and referenced at later time-points. As new disease-specific hashtags are created for hematologic and oncologic diseases, more users can connect across the world, even for the rarest of cancer subtypes. A major challenge for this emerging application will be the development of specific and easily identifiable hashtags over time to add more clarity, while still trying to grow Twitter users and expand its reach.

Keywords: Disease-specific hashtag; Organization; Social media; Twitter.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hematology / standards*
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology / standards*
  • Social Media / statistics & numerical data*