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

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Abstract

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.

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Martischang, R., Tartari, E., Kilpatrick, C., Mackenzie, G., Carter, V., Castro-Sánchez, E., … Pittet, D. (2021). Enhancing engagement beyond the conference walls: analysis of Twitter use at #ICPIC2019 infection prevention and control conference. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13756-021-00891-1

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