devices4 are currently promoting a survey on mobile phone usage by health care professionals in the UK. One of the channels we’re using is social media – predominantly via the devices4 Facebook page and via the devices4 Twitter account. As part of this we’ve been researching which NHS organisations are on Twitter.
We could not find a definitive list of NHS organisations on Twitter, so we started our own. We found it quite hard to establish whether a particular Twitter account was genuine or not. Some accounts we found were using the NHS name or logo, but weren’t recognisable as formally part of the NHS. In one case, going by the name of the account alone, we thought we had found an official PCT account, but on closer inspection it was promoting a site campaigning against the PCT, including a petition asking for the resignation of the Chief Executive!
Recognising the problem that impersonation can bring, Twitter are introducing a “Verified Account” feature, which is currently undergoing beta testing. This will provide a visual cue to the reader that a particular account is authentic. We’re yet to see a NHS verified account, but we anticipate that Trusts will look to incorporate this as soon as possible.
From our search, we’ve found just less than 100 Twitter accounts, comprising
- 6 out of 10 Strategic Health Authorities (60%),
- 65 out of 145 Primary Care Trusts (45%), and
- 27 out of 233 NHS Trusts (12%).
In the interests of further scrutiny (recognising that our first effort is unlikely to be perfect) we have made our NHS Twitter list public. This list also includes some additional NHS Twitter accounts, e.g. @NHSchoices, that don’t fit in the above categories. For general interest and ease of reference, we have also made a mashup of this information using GeoBatch and Google Maps.
Please let us know of any errors or omissions!