The global pandemic has forced us to reconsider many aspects of healthcare. Since the pandemic started, we wanted to explore how the conversation between healthcare practitioners has changed, and specifically around those experts specialising in urologic oncology.
By working with a team at Relative Insight and analysing the conversations around urologic oncology on Twitter, we were able to identify some unusual changes in how oncologists have adapted to COVID-19. In the research that we conducted, we divided the conversations into two sets. The first includes conversations ‘before COVID’ (from 27th July 2019 - 1st March 2020), and the second set, conversations ‘after COVID’ (1st March 2020 - 4th November 2020).
What we have detected is:
Drop-in conversations around research (trials, data, research)
The initial finding was conversations around the urologic research resources. The keywords such as clinical trials, data, and surveillance were mentioned very often even before the COVID pandemic.
This finding may surprise many people considering the amount of data collected in 2020 due to the pandemic (human tracing, COVID-19 tests). It seems like these topics would be more relevant 'after COVID' than 'before'.
A drop-in medical and anatomical conversation (prostate, patient)
The second popular topic among the urologic oncologists before the pandemic is medicine and health. But what struck us, even more, is that these topics haven’t been mentioned often since the pandemic. Although we faced many health issues in 2020, the conversation around specific discussions has been overshadowed.
No significant change in sentiment (happiness is the same) was detected in the conversations that the urologists have been having online.
The pandemic has massively impacted the mental health of millions but also immensely increased the awareness around it as well. Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 affects the mental health of one out of two people. However, by exploring the conversations of urologic oncologists, we were able to find that their emotions didn’t change before and after the pandemic. The keyword ‘happy’ was the most mentioned emotion among all the others such as ‘excited’ and ‘thrilled’. But why?
Many urologists seemed to have positive emotions due to new digital opportunities such as online collaborations, conferences, and partnerships. The pandemic might have forced us to isolate ourselves from everyone, but the digital tools have helped the urologists to become even more connected in this tough situation which brings us to the final point.
Increase in online learning and learning in general
The global pandemic has forced us to stay home and communicate through technology. It brings us to the last finding, concerning online communication between urologic oncologists. After COVID-19, research shows an appetite for digital learning and education. It demonstrates that HCPs were keener to use online tools to learn and communicate with their peers, and the willingness to educate/be educated has also increased this year. Certainly, with the drop in physical congresses, their need for continual learning needs to be fulfilled somehow.
Urologists, like many specialists, have been forced to conduct many of their consultations remotely, but are spending greater proportions of their time online generally. To bridge the gap between their challenges and how to improve health outcomes they need to be able to find relevant content more easily, educate themselves, and connect with their peers.
As we wrap up the year, we see that 2020 has made many changes both good and bad. Healthcare has changed dramatically, and for the urologists, the year 2020 has helped them to learn new things as well as to educate each other through new digital tools and platforms.