Much of the world population now access health information online. However, navigating social media (SM) can become challenging with time constraints and information overload. Hashtags have gained increasing popularity to organize information in themes, topics, groups, or activities. SM users can generate information pockets by including the ‘#’ symbol to posted vocabulary or a series of characters. Carefully curated hashtags at academic meetings and on specialty topics are already being used by health professionals. Audiences can stay informed on topics of interest by searching and following specific hashtags.

This presentation describes #hashtag use to organize and share health information online. The Institute for Population Health (IPH) at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar uses SM to promote health awareness, educate, and transfer credible health information to the community. We use unique and identifiable hashtags in our content which is evidence-based, timely, culturally appropriate, and visual. This helps organize content into themes like #lifestylemedicine, #mentalhealth, #culturalcompetence and our branded hashtag #IPHQatar.

When communicating on SM, health professionals need to know what engages their audience, and how to communicate scientific information responsibly so that it can be easily understood. Labeling content with hashtags can help organize content, improve visibility and discoverability, and facilitate information dissemination. Using a structured set of hashtags can facilitate seeking credible health information. For hashtags to be successful, ambassadors need to deliberately promote their use with the relevant context and meaning.


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