Tweeting Pathologists: How #InSituPathologists Changed the Way Pathologists Communicate

| January 25, 2017

Twitter_IconA paper was recently published in Modern Pathology (ePub ahead of print) entitled “#InSituPathologists: how the #USCAP2015 meeting went viral on Twitter and founded the social media movement for the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology that details the activity of “live tweeting” the USCAP 2015 and USCAP 2016 and how it all got started and the results.

As author #11 of 22, I can honestly say I was skeptical at first of this undertaking, the initial “call to action” by Jerad Gardner and getting this organized – just to tweet – not even necessarily a publication talking about tweeting but finding enough people to provide content and enough interest by readers at the meeting or perhaps not at the meeting to re-tweet.  As the paper mentions, it is the first of its kind to talk about live tweeting at a pathology meeting – and not just any meeting – but USCAP – the single largest gathering of pathologists in the world.

Tweets are of course 140-character messages one can share with their followers in response to the Twitter question “What’s happening?” I think when I first joined Twitter it asked “What are you thinking?” but was designed to provide short bursts of content to share news and network. The story behind Twitter and its rise, stagnation and current business issues are worth reviewing if you are not familiar with the application or company.

Even before Twitter became a popular media outlet for at least one presidential candidate this past year, attendees of medical conferences would share their thoughts, largely posting bits of information from talks they attended or people they met or products they saw to share news about the conference. My first experience with live tweeting at meetings was probably not a pure pathology meeting but a breast cancer meeting where the speakers and audience actively provided updates in real-time. I found it helpful in a couple of ways – 1. As you compose the tweet you have to sum up what you learned or want to share in 140 characters or less if you include a photo and 2. You can get bits of information from other sessions going on at the same time that you could not attend.

There is a collective process that takes place after that where the “best” content gets the most impressions and/or re-tweets.

Anyways, I remained skeptical.

Until the tweeting started and by the end of USCAP using #USCAP2015 there were over 5.8 million impressions from just over 6,500 tweets and 662 participants.  The paid registration for the meeting I suspect was somewhere at or slightly above 5,000 attendees. This in and of itself was impressive but given the interest and feedback, #USCAP2016 was put into place for last year’s meeting.  The result was nearly 19,000 tweets from over 1,200 participants with with the potential for over 28.5 million impressions.

And of course there will be a USCAP2017 hashtag that I gather may surpass the 2016 numbers, particularly as more residents and fellows tweet more since the dark days of live tweeting a few years ago with just 662 participants.

As I mentioned in a talk in September 2009, Manifest destiny—Pathology 2.0 is here, and it’s clear. Time to climb aboard which was transcribed and published in CAP Today – these applications I think always existed in terms of social media – users have found ways to share and re-share news and information in ways we could not have thought about 8 years ago (when I thought 400 Twitter followers was a good number).

Twitter, live tweeting, groups using common hashtags, and tweet chats allow all of us to do what we enjoy doing – now with a new medium enabled by handheld computing (does anyone tweet from their desktop? –  sharing information, exchanging experience and  harnessing collective intelligence – in a way we have never been able to do so quickly and efficiently in real-time.

What if you could share a whole slide image on Twitter or other social media applications and share and exchange and harness information in real-time from 100s or 1000s of others within the group or community?

Look to #USCAP2017 @tissuepathology #digitalpathology for more on this.  See you @TheUSCAP.


Mod Pathol. 2017 Jan 13;(2):160-168. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2016.223. [Epub ahead of print]

#InSituPathologists: how the #USCAP2015 meeting went viral on Twitter and founded the social media movement for the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology.

Cohen D1, Allen TC2, Balci S3, Cagle PT1, Teruya-Feldstein J4, Fine SW5, Gondim DD6, Hunt JL7, Jacob J8, Jewett K9, Jiang X’10, Kaplan KJ11, Kulac I12, Meunier R13, Riddle ND14, Rush PS15, Stall J16, Stuart LN17, Terrano D18, Uthman E19, Wasco MJ20, Williamson SR21, Wu RI22, Gardner JM7.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX, USA.
  • 2Department of Pathology, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA.
  • 3Department of Pathology, Yildirim Beyazit University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.
  • 4Department of Pathology, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai Health System, New York, NY, USA.
  • 5Department of Pathology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.
  • 6Department of Pathology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.
  • 7Department of Pathology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA.
  • 8Department of Pathology, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY, USA.
  • 9Kimberly Jewett Consulting, Inc., Plainfield, IL, USA.
  • 10Department of Pathology, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.
  • 11Publisher,, Charlotte, NC, USA.
  • 12Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.
  • 13Adirondack Pathology, Glens Falls, NY, USA.
  • 14Cunningham Pathology (An Aurora Dx Partner), Birmingham, AL, USA.
  • 15Department of Pathology, University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics, Madison, WI, USA.
  • 16Hospital Pathology Associates, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
  • 17Treasure Coast Pathology, Stuart, FL, USA.
  • 18Departments of Pathology and Dermatology, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY, USA.
  • 19OakBend Medical Center & PATHO-L, Richmond, TX, USA.
  • 20IHA Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and St Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
  • 21Department of Pathology, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI, USA.
  • 22Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Professional medical conferences over the past five years have seen an enormous increase in the use of Twitter in real-time, also known as “live-tweeting”. At the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) 2015 annual meeting, 24 attendees (the authors) volunteered to participate in a live-tweet group, the #InSituPathologists. This group, along with other attendees, kept the world updated via Twitter about the happenings at the annual meeting. There were 6,524 #USCAP2015 tweets made by 662 individual Twitter users; these generated 5,869,323 unique impressions (potential tweet-views) over a 13-day time span encompassing the dates of the annual meeting. Herein we document the successful implementation of the first official USCAP annual meeting live-tweet group, including the pros/cons of live-tweeting and other experiences of the original #InSituPathologists group members. No prior peer-reviewed publications to our knowledge have described in depth the use of an organized group to “live-tweet” a pathology meeting. We believe our group to be the first of its kind in the field of pathology.Modern Pathology advance online publication, 13 January 2017; doi:10.1038/modpathol.2016.223.
PMID: 28084341     DOI: 10.1038/modpathol.2016.223

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Category: Advocacy, Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Laboratories, Clinical Pathology, Conferences, Current Affairs, Digital Pathology News, Education, Medical Research, Pathology News, Reports

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