Twitter and other social media platforms are tremendous resources for sharing information about sleep disorders. I do not pretend to be a social media expert, so I apologize for my simplistic explanations or mistakes here. Patients and health care providers may rely on information available on the Internet (I know I sometimes do). Hashtags allow individuals to search social media platforms for relevant information, but there can be a question of what hashtags someone should use to obtain the most-relevant information on a topic. For example, should someone interested in information about obstructive sleep apnea search for #OSA, #obstructivesleepapnea, #troublebreathingduringsleep, #sleepdisorderedbreathing, or something else?
A group of researchers led by otolaryngologists Candace Flagg, MD and Sarah N. Bowe, MD from the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium contacted me last year about a project to develop a common set of hashtags for the various subspecialties in otolaryngology – head and neck surgery. For sleep medicine and surgery, we searched medical journals in otolaryngology and the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. We then worked with 10 other sleep surgeons to develop a core set of hashtags that could make it easier for individuals to find relevant information about sleep disorders. The article was recently published online in the medical journal The Laryngoscope.
The published manuscript can be found through the journal website, although it does require a subscription for access. Some of these hashtags are unique to sleep surgery, but some are relevant to both sleep medicine and sleep surgery. The hope is that individuals posting sleep-related content on social media will use them, simplifying the search for information across all social media platforms. It is not intended as an all-inclusive or final list, as the list may grow as the field evolves, but it is a starting point. Here are the proposed common set of hashtags: