Those involved in hospice and palliative care have been among the earliest healthcare professionals to embrace social media for its meaningful benefits, especially Twitter. We amplify and discuss studies pertaining to our patients and published in journals reflecting the full spectrum of professional disciplines and specialties. Interdisciplinary colleagues share widely – examples of community education that were effective for them, ideas on efficiently meeting regulatory requirements, perspectives on common ethical conundrums, and tips on maintaining wellness in what can sometimes feel like a sea of suffering. It comes as no surprise in our specialty that an open, diverse, welcoming community has developed. Our community uses the medium to spread knowledge and advance quality care, not negativity. People support each other. Advocacy is championed. Diverse voices are amplified. Achievements are celebrated. And, yes, we sometimes even cheer on each other’s kids’ successes in things like softball. The occasional shout of excitement and big hug now seen regularly in professional conference refreshment areas is often due to two Twitter-friends serendipitously meeting in person for the very first time.
One of most widely used ways of connecting each other and relevant posts is through the use of hashtags, or “#” followed by a relevant phrase. While there are many hashtags, the tag #hpm is among the oldest and most common, signifying content related to our field. It was started at a time when “medicine” was colloquially and professionally used to represent all disciplines and roles related to healthcare. Today our culture, and therefore our language, is changing. It is finally broadly recognized that economic, lifestyle, social, geographic, spiritual, nutritional, and other factors all influence a person’s health and well-being. The mainstream view of “good health”, too, is evolving to include the mental, emotional, and spiritual realms. As a result, some now attribute the word “medicine” to reflect only the physicians’ realm, and “care” to signify the inclusion of treatment and support by the full cadre of professionals. From this perspective, the tag #hpm becomes less unclear.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) have long been important to members of AAHPM and HPNA. Representatives from both AAHPM and HPNA, as well as social media champions, discussed the continued use of the tag #hpm with the year to signify content related to the Annual Assembly of Hospice and Palliative Care (i.e. #hpm17, #hpm18, #hpm19, etc). All readily agreed that if members of our community felt excluded by this tag, it didn’t match our core values and a new construct was required; #hpm20 may no longer reflect the wonderful, all-inclusive community currently thriving amongst us and in social media. Some obvious alternate possibilities were already in use by other organizations. However, #hapc20 (representing hospice and palliative care) was available to signify content related to the 2020 Annual Assembly and #hapc was similarly not in use.
We recognize the very popular use of “hpm” in social media, such as in account names and Twitterchats, may be affected by this decision to utilize #hapc to be more inclusive. Its use for other purposes is quite complex, and we defer to those involved how to best address this on a situational basis. Going forward, we are encouraging the use of #hapc20 to signify Twitter and other social media content related to the Annual Assembly of Hospice and Palliative Care on March 18-21, 2020. And don’t forget about the first annual State of the Science Conference to follow on March 20-22 – attend both to get 20% off your Annual Meeting registration.
We look forward to seeing everyone at #hapc20 in beautiful San Diego!
AAHPM and HPNA Staff
A diverse group of AAHPM and HPNA Twitter leaders met earlier this year to discuss the 2020 Annual Assembly hashtag. The leaders concluded that a change in the hashtag was necessary – #hapc was more representative of the growing and evolving field. Participants in the discussion were Amy Davis, Ashley Deringer, Kyle Edmonds, Allison Jordan, Christian Sinclair, Holly Yang, Allison Lundberg and Laura Davis from AAHPM, and Harry Crytzer and Len Mafrica from HPNA. If you have any questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.