Monday, March 27, 2017

Looking Forward to #hpm Chats in 2017



In July 2010, Christian and I had a conversation about finding ways to bring people together online to connect, collaborate and learn more about topics in hospice and palliative care. We had seen some fascinating discussions with #hcsm, the health care social media community and decided to launch the #hpm chat as a weekly interdisciplinary discussion of issues in hospice and palliative care. I never imagined how this idea would develop into such a vibrant community where caregivers, doctors, nurses, social workers, volunteers and people with a variety of experiences have joined in to discuss topics on our weekly conversations.

The healthcare hashtag project launched that Fall which bloomed into an awesome resource for learning about various healthcare communities, conferences and conversations.

The #hpm chat community taught us early that online communities are powerful, meaningful and had impact beyond online relationships. What often started as a “Twitter Buddy,” turned into cross-border (and cross-specialty) friendships that may have started on online, but eventually, led to phone calls, dinners, parties, coffee meetings and rich dialogues about ways we can work as a community to advance public understanding of issues in #hpm as well as drive progress within the field.

The relationships that have been built over the years have been well beyond people specializing in hospice and palliative medicine. I have fond memories of hopping on the phone with Jody Schoger about the importance of #hpm and #bcsm (the breast cancer social media community) and how energized we were about gathering with people that shared our passions online. This of course is just one example of someone who started as a Twitter buddy, which evolved into someone who, for years, would jump on the phone and engage in lively discussions about how we can make sure attention is given to the human experience of care. I had the benefit of having our phone calls evolve into a few dinners each year at various events and this friendship is one of many relationships that I cherish, and can credit to engaging online around issues in hospice and palliative care.

It has been absolutely incredible to see the development of healthcare communities online, and of course, to see how #hpm has evolved and grown over the years. For some data on this, below is a quick overview of the number of Tweets and impressions generated each year on the #hpm hashtag.


While I know in his last post, Christian did a call out to the organizers that have worked behind the scenes with the #hpm chat over the years, I have to echo this and give another major thank you to the AMAZING people that have hosted, given topic ideas and especially to the people that have been #hpm organizers. What many people don’t always see is the incredible amount of planning, coaching and behind the scenes work that these #hpm power organizers have dedicated to making this community what it is today. So thousands more special thank you's to people that have played a major role in organizing the chat over the years, Alicia Bloom, Meredith MacMartin, Ashley Deringer and Niamh van Meines, and of course #hpm cofounder Christian Sinclair.

After six and a half years of hosting the chats weekly and over 300 live discussions, we recently took a couple of months to take time to reflect, and plan for innovative ways to structure conversations about hospice and palliative care. We wanted to make sure we were thinking creatively about new ways to raise the bar for content, discussion topics and making these conversations more accessible to people that are not active on Twitter.

We have received a lot of feedback about how meaningful the community has become to people. Many people see this as a form of self care, because in our local communities we may not have as many neighbors that are passionate about discussing the latest articles, policies and experiences with advance care planning, early palliative care, centering healthcare around the goals of patients and families, as well as hospice and end of life care. Online, however, regardless of location, the #hpm chat has been a staple for the enthusiastic group of people who are passionate about designing a better experience for people facing serious illness. As Reid Hoffman, has often stated, we “found our tribe.” As organizers, we share this strong sense of purpose and enthusiasm with the #hpm chat community and appreciate the everyone’s patience as we’ve taken a short break to think creatively about planning for the chat’s future.

What’s Next for the #hpm chat?
We’ve decided that for the remainder of 2017, we will be moving from weekly chats to facilitating the #hpm chat at 6pm PST/9p EST, on the last Wednesday of the month. This is something that we're going to try and are open to the community's feedback through the year.

The 2017, #hpm chat director, Meredith MacMartin is a palliative care physician, director of the inpatient clinical palliative care service at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and assistant professor of medicine at Geisel School of Medicine. Meredith has been key in organizing new ideas for #hpm in 2017 and shared that she is most excited to be able to take a deeper dive into topics and present a forum to talk in depth about the issues in hospice and palliative care. Meredith, Christian and I have been actively discussing ways that we can be more inclusive to the larger community of people that are major contributors in hospice and palliative care but may not be active on Twitter.

We are working to broaden opportunities to include more people in  our conversations.


As Christian said, “taking time to to reboot and refresh is always good,” so with that #hpm’ers, we invite you to mark your calendars for our 2017 #hpm chats!

The last Wednesday of the month at 6pm PST/ 9pm EST:
  • March 29th, 2017 
  • April 26th, 2017 
  • May 31st, 2017 
  • June 28th, 2017 
  • July 26th, 2017 
  • August 30th, 2017 
  • September 27th, 2017 
  • October 25th, 2017 
  • November 29th, 2017 
  • December 27th, 2017
If you come across articles or have ideas for upcoming chats, please share them with the team!


Cheers #hpm'ers to a fantastic 2017! Happy tweeting, see you Wednesday! 

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