My anesthesiologist colleagues have been having a conversation lately – which hashtags should we use? It’s an important question, especially because ‘anesthesiology’ makes for a long hashtag! Also, we want to be sure to have a wide reach, to get all of us in the same room, so to speak. Beyond that, we’d like to have some cross-disciplinary engagement, so we are looking for overlap with surgery, emergency medicine, prehospital emergency care, intensive care, pain medicine, and so on. I did a little digging. Here’s a frequency graph of the top 20 hashtags associated with the keyword ‘anesthesiology’:

Let’s check out a word cloud that tells us the topics of conversation over the past nine months (since Jan 1 2018) for the keyword anesthesiology (the same search as above, but for words instead of hashtags):

clinical anesthesiology hashtags social media word cloud doctors on twitter

The results are kind of a bummer, because we can see that the associated hashtags and keywords are largely recruitment-related (job posts, locums opportunities). If look at the top 20 hashtags associated with the keyword anesthesiology, but add a filter to only look at tweets from physicians, we get a much different picture:


Now we see fewer job postings and more prominent medical education, patient safety, clinical, and advocacy hashtags.

Let’s check out a word cloud that tells us the topics of conversation among physicians only over the past nine months (since Jan 1 2018) for the keyword anesthesiology (the same search as above, but for words instead of hashtags):

top keywords anesthesiology word cloud healthcare social media

Of course, this filter is in the analytics software, and cannot actually be deployed while using Twitter. But, this helps us know that we could consider combining hashtags to locate and reach a more clinical community and medical set of topics.

We could also check out the relative frequency of certain hashtags that are germane to the specialty. Using predictive text and the prefix ‘anes’ I found the following results. Clearly, #anesthesia is more commonly used than #anesthesiology and far more than #anesthesiologist. With a frequency of 38,778 tweets (not pictured), our friends across the pond are likely reaching a more limited group if they are using #anaesthesia. #PedsAnes has 18,760 tweets (also not pictured), which is a smallish number in comparison, but I bet it is also very targeted to the intended community.

anesthesia related hashtags and keywords most frequently used

Also, it’s clear that specific types of pain hashtags are popular, and therefore, we might be able to use those to reach a more specific audience. For example, #backpain and #chronic pain have each been used well over a million times, and as keywords, they are in the tens of millions. Using those hashtags would probably garner a lot of impressions, but also probably get buried quickly, and reach an extremely broad audience (which might not be ideal, depending upon your goals). Anatomic descriptions of pain get more specificity and still have enough use to be relevant: #HipPain ~ 14,000 tweets, #ShoulderPain ~ 26,000 tweets, #NeckPain ~125,000 tweets, #LowBackPain ~ 180,000 tweets. As well, disease centered or patient demographic centered hashtags can be more specific but still relevant: #CancerPain has about ~5000 tweets and #KidsCancerPain has about ~13,000 tweets.

Of note, the pain hashtags that are popular might be heavily used by patients, so again it is worth considering a combination of the pain hashtag with an academic or other medical hashtag. For example, #painevidence has been used just over 6,000 times, but that seems to be fairly clinical (just my guess – I didn’t verify). #PainManagement has been used over 123,000 times and is likely very clinical. #PainSomnia has been used over 32,000 times – this might be worth checking out if you are interested in sleep disruption related to pain. #ExplainPain has only been used about 1600 times, but sounds interesting – perhaps pain docs would adopt this and give it some traction?

Finally, kudos to the folks putting on the #AnesJC – the virtual journal club – which has now been used nearly 8000 times!

As well, good job to all of the folks raising awareness with the #PainAwarenessMonth campaign, which has been used nearly 13,000 times since it first was detected by these analytics in 2016. In 2015, #PainMonth15 was used about 1100 times, so it looks like there is considerable growth in this area, even though the hashtag has evolved.

There are several hashtags that I know our pain community uses but were not detected in the analytics I ran. Those include #PainDocs and #PainMedicine. The best way to track whether these gain any traction would be to register them at with the Healthcare Hashtag Project. Even if these are not huge signals with tons of use on Twitter, they might still be a great way to connect with other pain physicians, so I’m not discounting them. I just don’t have any data to report.

So, my friends, there you have it – an update on the Twitter landscape for social media hashtag use in anesthesiology. Happy Follow Friday!

Pin for later!

Are you using the right hashtags?

Are you using the right hashtags?

Pin It on Pinterest