Discussions on COVID-19 and the use of telehealth and telemedicine by digital pharma influencers peaked in March, says GlobalData

The number of social media posts made by digital pharma influencers related to COVID-19 has increased significantly since it was declared a pandemic in March, but content specifically discussing telehealth and telemedicine seems to have peaked in March, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

According to GlobalData’s Digital Pharma Influencer database, there were only 22 and 171 COVID-19 posts, respectively, on Twitter in January and February of 2020. This increased to approximately 1,000 posts in March, and 1,500 in May.

Kathryn Whitney, MSc, Director of Thematic Analysis, comments: “One of the main topics that digital pharma Influencers discussed was the use of telehealth and telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. In January, no posts relating to this topic were seen from Influencers, while in February just 5% of tweets mentioned telehealth or telemedicine.

“However, in both March and April, telemedicine and telehealth were in the top ten trending keywords for COVID-19-related posts. In March, 34% of posts discussed the technology, while in April this decreased to just over 20% of tweets. In May, just 6% of posts contained the keywords telehealth or telemedicine.”

Many of the posts were from leading digital health experts and highlighted the important role that telehealth and telemedicine play in combating the pandemic. Other tweets noted the rapid increase in demand for the technology during the crisis, as well as how COVID-19 will drive its adoption in the future. 

Whitney concludes: “It is widely expected among the digital health community that COVID-19 may be the tipping point for telemedicine, and it will continue to be used at high levels once the crisis has abated. Since early March, demand for these types of services has surged, and it is anticipated that reimbursement regulations will change to allow permanent access to the technology.” 

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