Top 25 organizations with the most digital opinion leaders

Healthcare experts and key opinion leaders (KOLs) live digital lives, like most of us. Life science companies are paying attention to KOLs’ online lifestyles to engage with them more effectively. As a result, many medical device and pharmaceutical companies are reimagining traditional KOL roles as digital influencers, or digital opinion leaders (DOLs).

The rise in telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic aligned with a shift to more virtual interactions with medical affairs and supply reps at healthcare provider offices. Understanding an expert’s sphere of influence, areas of focus and engagement in their community can help life science companies develop stronger KOL/DOL engagement strategies.

Which organizations have the most healthcare DOLs?

Monocl, a Definitive Healthcare company, tracks over 11 million global experts in healthcare. A wide range of criteria are used to identify DOLs, including an expert’s use of Twitter.

This list shows the top organizations by their total number of experts with a Twitter account.

Organizations by most digital opinion leaders

RankOrganizationLocationNumber of experts
1Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, United States955
2Stanford UniversityStanford, United States924
3Massachusetts General HospitalBoston, United States850
4Brigham and Women's HospitalBoston, United States804
5UC San FranciscoSan Francisco, United States798
6University of TorontoToronto, Canada798
7Cleveland ClinicCleveland, United States791
8Columbia UniversityNew York, United States738
9University of MichiganAnn Arbor, United States666
10Mayo Clinic Hospital - Saint Marys CampusRochester, United States659
11University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHouston, United States632
12University College LondonLondon, United Kingdom611
13University of WashingtonSeattle, United States594
14University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, United States545
15Icahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew York, United States533
16University of OxfordOxford, United Kingdom531
17Duke University Health SystemDurham, United States530
18Imperial College LondonLondon, United Kingdom518
19Emory UniversityAtlanta, United States515
20University of CambridgeCambridge, United Kingdom510
21Northwestern UniversityEvanston, United States510
22University of PittsburghPittsburgh, United States500
23King's College LondonLondon, United Kingdom495
24Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterNew York, United States465
25Harvard Medical SchoolBoston, United States435

Fig. 1 Data is from the Monocl ExpertInsight product. Data is proprietary. Accessed April 2022.

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland has over 950 healthcare experts using Twitter. Stanford University in California currently has about 925 healthcare experts with Twitter accounts. Organizations outside the U.S. that make the list of most DOLs include University of Toronto, University College London, University of Oxford, Imperial College London, University of Cambridge and King's College London.

What is a digital opinion leader (DOL)?

Digital opinion leaders, also known as digital influencers, are healthcare providers and medical, scientific or public health experts who engage in digital and social dialogue about scientific, medical and healthcare related topics. Industry analysts, journalists, patient advocates, current or former patients and caregivers can become digital influencers in the healthcare space as well.

DOLs play an increasingly important role in the life sciences and healthcare industries as they represent a new group of external experts who are informing the online discourse about therapeutic areas and other important healthcare topics. Digital influencers communicate quickly and widely without approval processes and reach audiences that might be difficult to access through traditional methods like scientific publications.

DOLs also include rising stars: young medical and scientific experts who show potential to be an influential voice in the industry.

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