MDigitalLife – Diving in to the Data

Posted by: in Analytics, Healthcare Insights, MDigitalLife, Medical Communications, Social Media Insights & Trends on December 10, 2012

Back in October, WCG unveiled the MDigitalLife database at the Mayo Clinic. The database consists of 1,400+ physicians who are active on Twitter, and has already surfaced a boatload of valuable information about how doctors are using Twitter to connect, learn and educate.

In addition to the learning already outlined, holds tremendous potential for exploring the discussions around specific disease states. For the sake of demonstration, we decided to take a quick snapshot of how physicians are using Twitter to drive the conversation around Breast Cancer.  By leveraging the top keywords, we were able to identify the doctors mentioning Breast Cancer topics most frequently on Twitter.

*- Breast Cancer query terms available in full report.

Simply identifying the Top 20 (out of 250+) physicians who are shaping the conversation on Breast Cancer immediately provides value. It allows us to develop a custom lists, scan for trending topics, curate content and better understand the key issues driving the conversation.

Digging a bit deeper can provide even more insight in to the nature of the dialogue and what content is really resonating.  Analyzing 33,545 tweets from these 20 physicians and using total online shares as a proxy for resonance, we can quickly identify the Breast Cancer links shared via Doctors’ tweets gained traction.  The online outlets hosting Top 100 most shared links show that Doctors are linking to a mix of content, spanning mainstream news, cancer advocacy organizations and physician blogs.

Lastly, we know from the original MDigitalLife analysis that doctors linking to their personal blogs have larger followings, are more likely to be followed by their peers and generally drive more engagement on Twitter. Digging into the Breast Cancer links that were shared most online, we’re able to identify doctors who are creating content on their personal blogs and how they’re connecting within the digital ecosystem via Twitter. Content ranges from commentary on recently released research to detailed posts helping patients make informed decisions about diagnosis and treatment.

These examples give only a flavor for the depth of insight that can be gleaned from the MDigitalLife database on the topic of Breast Cancer. The breadth of specialties and volume of content housed in this tool offer an incredible range of opportunities to better understand how doctors are using Twitter to educate, learn and engage with their target audiences.


MDigitalLife is an ever-growing database (currently over 2,000) of U.S. doctors on Twitter, matched to their NPI (National Provider Identifier number). To our knowledge, this is the only database linking doctors using the Twitter platform to an “official” data set. As of this writing, we’ve  captured over 1.5M tweets from those doctors, allowing an unprecedented ability to scan for trending topics and relationships, broken out by specialty, gender, geographic location and dozens of other criteria.

The initial findings from this data were presented at the Mayo Clinic on October of 2012 in the form of the slide deck embedded below; it contains a full suite of statistics derived from the database itself and some high-level analysis showcasing how the data could be used.  For more information, visit or contact Greg Matthews.

By: Brandon Watts

Brandon is the leader of WCG's Analytics Team in Austin, TX. Email: LinkedIn:

Find me on: Twitter
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  1. This is very interesting and I look forward to more of this work. Just wanted to correct that my specialty is Medical Oncology not Pathology. Thanks. –@rsm2800

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