Using Twitter to understand health care experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic

A thematic and sentiment analysis

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a rapid rise in care being delivered remotely. However, there has been little research into the effect on patient experience of using remote consultations. Picker, as part of the Quality Safety and Outcomes Policy Research Unit (QSO PRU), works to ensure that changes in the way we use health and care resources will lead to improved outcomes for people using those services.

A study conducted by Picker and QSO PRU on using Twitter comments to understand people’s experiences of UK healthcare during the Covid-19 pandemic was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Using Twitter data to address our research questions was beneficial for providing rapid access to attitudes to remote care delivery at a time when it would have been difficult to conduct primary research due to the pandemic. This approach allowed us to examine how people were talking about  remote care over a relatively long period and to explore shifting attitudes of Twitter users at a time of rapid changes in care delivery. 

Whilst people’s views of remote care delivery were generally positive at the start of the first lockdown, they declined as the pandemic continued. The mixed attitudes toward remote care highlight the importance of offering diverse access to healthcare going forward, and consider  individual needs and preferences. 

Image of someone pressing Twitter icon
Twitter icon

Social media sites such as Twitter provide opportunities  to understand how people are experiencing care. Twitter data can be useful for exploring people’s opinions on health issues or treatment, and public reactions to the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Read our related blog on how social media can be a marker of individual experiences here. 

Talk to us about person centred care

Send us a message

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up