Using social media in early awareness and alert activities

Research output: Contribution to conference (unpublished)Poster


  • Jane Tavener (Contributor)


Social media is a growing at an explosive rate and is difficult to ignore. The NIHR Horizon Scanning Centre (HSC) uses the processes outlined in the EuroScan Methods Toolkit to carry out early awareness and alert (EAA) activities. The HSC has explored using social media in some of these processes.
To describe the use of social media in an early awareness and alert system.
Various social media sites have been used as tools in EAA processes by the HSC. Since 2011, Twitter has been used as a medium for disseminating outputs; and more recently as a scanning source to identify both new and emerging health technologies, and individual experts and groups who can potentially provide input into reports. Facebook has been used to recruit patients and carers to comment on an emerging technology.
As an identification source for both technologies and experts, Twitter and Facebook has proved to be a useful addition to traditional sources. However, their use be more relevant to some technology areas than others. As a means of dissemination, since 2011 the HSC has tweeted 490 individual outputs and has over 1,000 followers. The potential number of people and organisations reached through retweets is over 300,000 and over 500,000 through followers of those that mention HSC tweets. Fifty five targeted tweets have been sent that have generated two responses.
Social media is proving a useful tool for the HSC particularly for disseminating outputs. Further work is required to determine if there are any advantages of using social media to identify technologies over the more traditional identification sources. Key issue are managing the large quantity of data and quality of information found.


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2015
EventHTAi Annual Meeting - Global Efforts in Knowledge Transfer - Oslo, Norway
Duration: 15 Jun 201517 Jun 2015


ConferenceHTAi Annual Meeting - Global Efforts in Knowledge Transfer