A very social #EMCC2011 in Stockholm

Written by Victoria Louise Crump-Haill – Digital Strategist/Account Director‏

Wow, what a congress #EMCC2011 in Stockholm has been for social, digital and mobile media. Video, Twitter, QR codes, iPads and Apps everywhere. This is the first cancer congress in Europe I have attended where social media, mobile and QR codes have been so pervasive. It certainly helps when the congress organizers provide free WiFi throughout the congress center. Well done ECCO and ESMO!

To date the congress Twitter community has published over 3200 tweets covering a wide range of topics.

Top therapy area mentions goes to:

382 – GI

320 – Breast

134 – Prostate

122 – Lung

Top company mentions goes to:

61 – Novartis

49 – Roche

31 – Boehringer

15 – Bayer

9 – Amgen

6 – Astellas

There were a number of well placed, very large screens aggregating the #emcc2011 Twitter community conversation at key locations throughout the venue, which caused great interest and I am sure helped persuade delegates to participate.

(Day 1 twitter fall – early in the morning)

A Teaching Session on social media , entitled How Healthcare Professionals and Patient Groups are using Social Media was hosted by leading cancer patient advocate and epatient Jan Geissler, making the point that health on the Internet is the new norm for many doctors and patients and social media is being rapidly adopted by both groups. You can view the presentation from Jan below and view the other presentations here.

Introduction – Teaching Lecture on Social Media

View more presentations from patvocates

Jan also chaired an education session in the patient advocacy session on Cancer and the Internet. During this session, Prof Richard Sullivan one of the project leads presented ecancerHub – the product of the two-year project Eurocancercoms, a European Commission FP7 funded initiative. The project, a partnership of Europe’s major cancer organisations and businesses led by the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, looked at issues and bottlenecks surrounding the communication and dissemination of cancer information across Europe, with the aim of establishing a single, efficient network for cancer communication in Europe. Sullivan stated “We have seen a huge growth in cancer information over the last 10 years, but much of this is fragmented, hard-to-access, and of questionable quality. Utilising a cutting edge social media platform developed by our technology partner (Brandcast Health), European partners have created the first integrated platform to deal with these issues and serve all members of the cancer community be they patients, poliymakers, professionals or scientists”

Also on the panel for the Cancer on Internet Session was Gilles Frydmen ACOR founder and participatory medicine champion. Gilles gave an insight into ACOR communities; social networks for epatients to share accurate and current information and data. Stating a case study with Gleevec where the GIST ACOR  community was mobilized, saving many lives and setting records for trial recruitment, he made the point that the patient is the most under-utilised resource of the healthcare system and networked patients are inventing and shaping a better healthcare model by being the source of authoritative answers for other patients.

Denis Costello, web communications officer for EURORDIS gave us some great examples of how patient communities are being served through social media. The Rare Disease Blog is providing e-advocacy by developing the patients’ voice, engagement via Twitter @eurordis and awareness via the Rare Disease Day platform.

Getting around the congress centre and finding which sessions to attend was made easy with the official congress app – I used the iPad version which had a great looking easy to navigate interface. Shame it didn’t have the abstracts loaded so that I could make notes against and share direct from the application to my colleagues back home, but it was a huge step forward. It also meant I didn’t have to carry the heavy programme  book around with me.

QR codes were pervasive – every exhibition panel had one – driving customers to documents, polls, information and other resources on their phone and tablet devices. (Apple appears to be the platform of choice for cancer professionals from what I could see). However, the award for best use of QR codes goes to Novartis for their innovate use in poster sessions – allowing you to download a pdf copy to your device, saving on printing costs and most importantly trees. Well done Novartis.

While in Stockholm I connected with many new friends both virtually and face to face. I was able organize via Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn to meet for the first time many friends that had previously existed only through online social networks.  We could feel the buzz in the congress centre and through the #emcc2011 community on Twitter, sharing with the world in an instant what was hot (or not). Never has it been more apparent to me that the dialogue between the medical profession and patients is becoming more open and the bridge between the two made closer through the power of social media.

I will certainly remember #EMCC2011 as a very socia(b)le and digitally integrated conference.

Stephen Dunn

PS – Conference organizers please note: #EMCC would suffice for next time, giving us 4 extra characters to communicate with 🙂

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