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The next big thing in medicine? Live-tweeting and Vining surgeries

vine surgery

There have been plenty of innovative uses of Vine since it’s launch, some of which were recently recapped by a look back at the app’s first 100 days. But one creative use that went unmentioned can be credited to Spire Bushey Hospital, which in April conducted surgery for Periacetabular Osteotomy (hip dysplasia), and recorded the important parts of the surgery using Vine.

vine tweet surgeryThis isn’t the first time that hospitals in the past have used social media creatively to garner some press. Memorial Hermann Hospital in February 2012 was recognized as the first hospital to live-tweet any type of surgery (in Memorial Hermann’s case, open heart surgery) in the history of Twitter. In a step-by-step recount of what was happening  in the operating room, Memorial Hermann kept its followers up-to-date with text-based tweets as well as a few images, though nothing of an overly graphic nature.

Spire Bushey’s Vine recording to document the procedure was the first of its kind in the U.K – apparently, the app is starting to gain a small following among the medical market. Despite the graphic nature of using a video-based app, the ability to embed the material within Twitter as well as view these six-second snippets on repeat makes it an ideal tool. Spire Bushey Hospital’s representative tells Social Media Portal that its Vine and Twitter campaigns “[inform] people looking at treatment options for hip dysplasia, to medical students and professionals wanting to have the opportunity to view a rare procedure they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to see.” 

At the same time Aresh Hashemi-Nejad, who consulted on the surgery and spoke to the Watford Observer, argues that social media is a great way to keep loved ones in the loop on the surgery’s progress. “The family are kept informed what’s going on as it happens, and this can reassure them,” he says.

It can also give the audience a highlight reel of the surgery. While YouTube is full of medical procedures, the ability to see in real-time these moments in bite-sized pieces can be easier to digest. 

“As opposed to filming the entire procedure, which would have required the viewer to invest more time into watching. We could capture the key moments, and cover a complicated procedure, making it understandable and easy to digest for people without a clinical background,” Memorial Hermann Hospital’s spokesperson explains.

If you look back on the tweets from the day, you’ll see that these Vine videos spared no details. Every significant point in the surgery was recorded on Vine for your viewing – blood and all.

Overall, if you look at the number of followers gained over the course of the procedure, @SpireBushey gained just 50 new followers – and spent £3,000 and £6,000 on its social media budget. But Memorial Hermann says that the live tweet and Vine videos had to do more with enabling patients and medical professionals to engage in a discussion. And it doesn’t hurt that the hospital’s website traffic doubled and the surgery’s hashtag #LiveAtBushey reached 11,681 accounts and garnered 32,800 impressions.

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