The UK Healthcare Digital Influencers Twitter Landscape

Embrace Communications Director Howard Wilmot looks at the new voices influencing Digital Health.... 

— in Digital

As with every other sector, digital innovation is disrupting the healthcare landscape: while other industries are reprogramming themselves in light of how they sell product or market themselves, what’s currently happening in Medtech goes much deeper.

As with other industries, it’s the consumer, user or individual who appears to hold all the cards as we move forward. We’re moving from a doctor-centred world to a patient-centred one, where cure isn’t post-, it’s pre-illness. Read more Insights on Digital Health

The knock-on effect means we need to look for new voices to guide us, so who’s influencing and shaping this new world?

Using various tools from Pulsar, Followerwonk to some good old Google search, we undertook some research to scratch the surface. And, before you judge us, the below is a very gentle toe in the water.

We looked at Twitter influencers with Klout scores above 50: Klout rates users with a number between 1-100, which represents influence. The more influential you are, the higher your Klout Score.

What was interesting initially was that it soon became apparent that the US and UK operate differently in this space – no doubt because in the States, healthcare is a commodity and therefore practitioners are using social media to market themselves as they would in other industries.

We will follow this article with a feature on what we’ve learned in this space about the NHS and the users around it but in the meantime, here’s what’s going on in the UK.


Despite initial expectations about ‘patient power’, there appear to be few patient-influencers per-se maybe because of our entrenched stiff upper lip, unwillingness to broadcast symptoms for all to see or just because patients have generally got bigger issues to deal with.

Influencers in general were therefore more likely to be survivors and although, it might be something they mention in their profiles, it was rarely something that filled their feeds.

There were a few exceptions however…


Tommy Dunne @TommyTommytee18 - 61


Living with dementia (Alzheimers) not suffering with it. I may not have enough time left to see a world without Dementia but I hope to see one that accepts it


Michael Seres ​@mjseres - 54


43yrs old married to Justine with 3 kids. Had Crohns Disease for 30 yrs and 11th Bowel Transplant patient at Churchill Hospital, Oxford Patient lead at #nhssm

Michael's blog:


Jess S @Jess_ME_CFS  - 50


23yo dog-lover, student & blogger battling ME/CFS, NMH (dysautonomia)/VVS (faints), IBS, chronic facial pain & Asthma. Ill for 5+ yrs.

​Jess' blog:



In terms of exploring influencers around ‘diseases’ per se, the landscape was still dominated by charities relating to the illness.

However, what was interesting is that in general none had any kind of (influencer) Klout score over 50 – which was particularly surprising for more ‘modern diseases’ like AIDS where you’d be led to believe there’d be a lot of discussion and new voices using Twitter as a platform to petition for progress.

Healthcare Experts & Practitioners

That’s not to say there aren’t doctors, clinicians and experts using social media to critique and discuss issues – presumably, they’ve got better things to be doing but what’s interesting is that the ones operating here can (and do) command a huge number of followers – especially if they work across a broadcast platform.


Dr Phil Hammond @drphilhammond - 72


Doctor, Private Eye's MD, @bbcrb presenter & comic. Touring with GAMES TO PLAY WITH YOUR DOCTOR. New book, 'STAYING ALIVE - HOW TO GET THE BEST FROM THE NHS'

Dr Phil's website:


Dr Shibley @shibleyrahman - 73

14k + followers

Queen's Scholar 1st Cl; PhD MRCP(UK) LLM MBA - primarily interested in English and global dementia policy. Disabled and proud of it. In recovery from alcohol.

Dr Shibley's website:


Teresa Chinn MBE RN @AgencyNurse​ - 64


A tweeting nurse. ‪#WeNurses founder. A tweeting nurse. ‪#WeNurses founder.

Terea's website:


Saikat Nandi @SaikatNandi - 54


‪#Cancer Gene Discovery Fellow ‪@CSHLnews & ‪@TheNCI | PhD from ‪@UniofOxford | ‪@ExeterCollegeOx Alum | ‪#DrugDiscovery | Dog Lover RT≠Endorsement Views=Personal


Julie Christie @juliechristie - 57


PhD candidate ‪#Resilience in the context of ‪#dementia and ‪#socialwork. Interested in ‪#socialmedia potential and ‪#coproduction ‪#demphd


Prof Anna Maslin @AnnaMaslin


Wife, Mother, Author, working on health, human rights & international development for over 30 years. Proud to support @sayinggoodbyeUK


Victoria Betton @victoriabetton


@leedsandyorkpft deputy director, social median and mental health PhD researcher @loveartsleeds fest director, Parma Violets enthusiast

Victoria's About Me:


Dr Alys Cole-King‪ ‪@AlysColeKing


Emotional resilience, compassion, pt safety, lead CwP WSPD no-stigma suicide prevent SoMe, Co-Founder connecting with people training Lead @UcanCope

​Dr Alys Cole-King's website:


Media & Business

While mainstream traditional media has been notoriously knocked by digital, niche titles are making digital work for them – note Pulse’s presence here, Nursing Times (68) and while HSJ doesn’t have a Twitter account, its editor scores a 67.

What’s interesting to explore is that new businesses’, evangelists’ and consultants’ content marketing activity means they’re becoming powerful voices in this space instead.

Compare Pulse’s followers to those of Alex Butler’s and you’ll realise how much this landscape is changing.


Business Owners


Alex Butler @Alex__Butler


Digital #pharma expert MD @the_earthworks @tedmed speaker and member of Wharton Future of Advertising Global Advisory Board. Part of the @digitally_sick team

Alex's Earthworks blog:


Dr Saif Abed ‪@Saif_Abed - 51


Founding Partner at AbedGraham; EMEA Medical Director ‪@Imprivata; ‪@CambridgeJBS & ‪@StGeorgesUni alum London

Dr Saif Abed's websites:,


Ritesh Patel @ritters90 - 50


Digital and social evangelist – geek at heart. Focus on healthcare – Spurs fanatic. Posts DO NOT reflect the views of the company I work for.

Ritesh's About Me:


Daniel Ghinn @engagementstrat​ – 45


CEO, Creation Healthcare; Editor, Healthcare Engagement Strategy, eJournal Consulting to healthcare organizations for the digital age.

Daniel's website:


Liam Ryan @liamhq – 39


Sales Executive @Boxever, #bigdata &#travel | Business Enthusiast & Writer on#Sales #Product #Marketing #Network | Trumpet @StomptownBrass & @RiptideMovement

Liam's website:



Pulse Today @pulsetoday

​​22.5k followers – Medical news, views, education and clinical information to GPs, nurses and other health professionals

London, UK –


Dominic Tyer @Dominic_Tyer


Editor and journalist specialising in pharma, biotech & healthcare. Particular focus on digital pharma. Author;…

Dominic's website:


Andrew Spong @andrewspong


Healthcare is getting better. Working with pharma, patient associations, & agencies. MD, STweM. One third @Digitally_Sick

Andrew's website: www.stwem

Of course, this is not an entirely exhaustive search, more a top level look – but even here, it hopefully gives some insight into the motivations and approaches necessary when looking at B2B marketing in this space. Who have we missed out...?


Other Sources


Further Reading

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