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Twitter courts healthcare — but cautiously

Health-related tweets are on the rise and Twitter wants healthcare marketers to pay attention. This year, the company said, tweets about health are up 51 percent. But even as it makes inroads in health, Twitter offers a few caveats.

Gigaom

As health-related chatter on Twitter picks up, the micro-blogging platform wants healthcare marketers to pay attention — but the company’s pitch isn’t without some qualifications.

At a presentation at the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco Monday (Twitter’s first in the health tech conference’s six-year history), Melissa Barnes, Twitter’s head of agency and brand advocacy, said that health-related tweets have increased 51 percent in 2012 so far.

That chatter includes general commentary from Twitter users about their personal health, as well as health education efforts (like the first live-tweeted open heart surgery in February) and policy-related posts.

The most tweeted about health-related event by far? The Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act this June. At the time, it was reported that tweets about the Obamacare ruling peaked at 13,000 tweets per minute.

We’ve also started to see interesting projects use real-time Twitter data for public health purposes. In…

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