#HealthXPH: Trending health in social media

In the past months, health care professionals who are involved in health informatics or even in social media may have witnessed the slow but steady unfolding of a trending hashtag. Every Saturday, at about 9 o’clock in the evening, twitter feeds of those involved in health informatics are slowly being populated by the initially strange hashtag #HealthXPH. It seems to be operating in the context of a “tweet chat”, an online discussion through twitter with the use of a specific hashtag. Little did we know the extent and reach of this blooming community which started with four tech-savvy physicians.

HealthXPH founders

(From left to right) Dr. Narciso Tapia, Dr. Helen Madamba, Dr. Gia Sison, Dr. Iris Thiele Isip-Tan, and Dr. Remo Aguilar (photo by Henri Igna)

The birth of a trend

Dr. Helen Madamba (@helenvmadamba) shared how Dr. Iris Isip-Tan (@endocrine_witch) described the creation of #HealthXPH as a series of fortunate events.

“She and Dr. Gia Sison (@giasison) have been active on twitter on the #HCLDR tweet chat. Dr. Iris shared on Facebook that she wanted to attend the Doctors 2.0 in Paris. Dr. Remo Aguilar (@bonedoc) then asked, ‘why not have our own Philippine conference?’ A week later, Dr. Remo posted something on twitter about google hangouts. What followed is a flurry of posts from Iris, Gia, and Remo which spilled over Twitter.

“And then the hashtag was born: #HealthXPH.”

In his blog, Dr. Remo described #HealthXPH as a community of collaborating healthcare stakeholders such as healthcare professionals, institutions, academe, patients and policy makers. This online community “pushes the boundaries” of social media and other emerging technologies and its application in the Philippine health care through fruitful discussions. Most importantly, it aims to educate healthcare stakeholders in an open and free platform.

Since social media and other innovations continuously change how we view healthcare, #HealthXPH serves as an avenue where healthcare stakeholders derive insights on how to effectively use these technologies. As what Dr. Aguilar said, “social media is going to impact Philippine healthcare. #HealthXPH wants to make it a positive one.”

The Saturday 9 o’clock habit

#HealthXPH is a regular weekly tweet chat every Saturday 9:00 PM (Manila) tackling on the use of social media and emerging ICT technologies for healthcare. This tweet chat is organized by Dr. Remo Aguilar, Dr. Iris Isip-Tan, Dr. Gia Sison, and Dr. Narciso Tapia (@cebumd).

Since its inception in January 2014, it has incurred more than 300 million impressions not only here in the Philippines, but also from around the world. More than 41,000 tweets by 2400 twitter users use the hashtag #HealthXPH.

Synergy of healthcare and social media

Last Saturday, #HealthXPH hosted the 1st Philippine Health Care Social Media Summit in Cebu in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).

More than 300 healthcare professionals, medical students and bloggers alike witnessed the historic event where the #HealthXPH Manifesto was publicly signed by the four founders who have met face-to-face for the first time during the summit. The #HealthXPH manifesto, which was established from a series of tweet chats, aims to guide health care workers on how they should conduct themselves professionally in social media, upholding their responsibilities and the rights of their patients. Everyone is encouraged to support this advocacy by signing up online (http://healthxph.net/manifesto)

At present, #HealthXPH still conducts regular weekly one-hour tweet chats under the hashtag #HealthXPH. So the next time we open our twitter feeds on a Saturday night, be sure to follow and join this trend which will give light to our use of social media and innovative technologies as healthcare professionals.