Social media as a knowledge-translation tool to disseminate public-health evidence




Poster session 3 Friday: Evidence Tools / Evidence synthesis - creation, publication and updating in the digital age


Friday 15 September 2017 - 12:30 to 14:00


All authors in correct order:

Marquez O1, Dobbins M2, Chen V1, Husson H1
1 Health Evidence, McMaster Univeristy, Canada
2 Health Evidence, The National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools, Canada
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Maureen Dobbins

Contact person:

Abstract text
Background: Health Evidence supports the public health workforce search for, interpret, and apply research evidence to practice. The repository offers 5000+ quality-appraised systematic reviews evaluating the effectiveness of public-health interventions. Since 2009 Health Evidence has used social media as a knowledge translation (KT) tool to disseminate evidence and engage in online conversations regarding ‘what works’ in public health.

Objectives: Share techniques, strategies, and resources used by Health Evidence to create interactive content, engage on social platforms, track analytics and measure impact.

Methods: Short, actionable messages from methodologically strong systematic reviews are formulaically created and posted daily via the @HealthEvidence Twitter and Facebook accounts in text and image form. Infographics are used to share statistical, graphical, and written descriptions of findings, and to promote a monthly webinar series. Analytics capturing data regarding engagement with social media posts and web behaviour on is logged and aggregated monthly.

Results: The @HealthEvidence Twitter account disseminates findings from an average 28 moderate/strong reviews monthly to 6500+ global followers from 119+ counties. Google Analytics reveal social media posts increase web behaviour access to a review on the day-of Tweeting by 1,186%, compared to average daily views the month prior, with Twitter users spending nearly 5:20 mins viewing the page. Twitter Analytics reveal that a single review-based Tweet will be viewed by 1100+ followers, and can engage up to 12 unique followers. Use of infographics to promote upcoming webinars and disseminate evidence increases Twitter impressions and engagements by 57% and 355%, respectively, compared to text-only posts. The social media team commits an average 30 mins daily for actively monitoring platforms in real time and 1-2 hours weekly each for of content creation and scheduling, and analytics.

Conclusions: Findings reinforce integration of social media platforms as part of a comprehensive KT strategy to support local, national, and global public-health decision making.