Health Care and Social Media – Social Media Breakfast

Social Media Breakfast was very insightful again and brought together a panel representing interesting approaches to social media in health care.

@AlbertMaruggi posed a few questions and outlined a challenge of health care as an industry. As any industry health care can see a downside of transparency, but the upside is accountability, and ability to prevent negative events from happening. However, @AlbertMaruggi pointed to a gap that industry is facing: general public wants more and now, but evidence-based medicine does not consider this approach effective.

Larissa Rodriquez (HealthPartners and Regions Hospital)

HealthPartners sought differentiation and mascots became a very innovative and fun solution. Social media became a natural extension – mascots don’t talk… social media gave them a voice.

Mascots participated in over 200 events over last year; they allow consumers to experience the brand. Social media is not optional.  Important:

  • minimize the risk
  • maximize the value

The company is constantly evolving its approach and overcoming challenges:

  • experimentation
  • recognition of time commitment

Controlling your brand in social media is difficult, however,  Larissa is trying to avoid the first impulse to delete an uncomfortable comment and get the mascot to respond in a clever way.

What is next?  Figuring out how to connect social media to patient care (HIPAA sensitive issue).

How mascots help to promote company’s agenda? Mascots usually have marketing materials.

How the concept was sold internally? Leadership bought in from the beginning and employees were excited about a concept of making a specimen cup a mascot.

HealthPartners would like to be ahead of the other players in the industry and do spend time thinking about strategy.

Jesse Stremcha (Children’s Hospitals)

General recommendation on the social media policy – do not reinvent the wheel; adjust and adopt existing policies. Law lags behind the disruptive technologies.

Interesting example: patients’ communication with each other helps them to cope with the situation better using the experience of others. A physician can say that a child should not eat before the surgery and parents would not serve breakfast, but a tip of covering the food in the house would be very valuable for a parent. A two-year-old would not understand why he cannot eat.

One of the existing sites is Patients Like Me.

Online communication between a physician and a patient also complicated by the question where is doctor-patient relationship starts…

Cindy Fruitrail (Fairview)

@AlbertMaruggi started this part of the conversation by suggesting that “one way to implement social media is not to call it social media.”

All Fairview social media efforts are safely behind company’s firewall.  The problem was that “bright minds did not see each other.”  People were creating places “out there” to communicate, and company did not find it comfortable or productive. The “Facebook” at work was created behind firewall, where clinics could discuss real issues. The name of the tool is i-Connect. It was introduced in a soft launch to strategic areas, which would gain the most from collaboration. Fairview has 12,000 core staff, and 5,000 logged on to the system.

A question from the audience expressed a concern that most likely younger physicians use social networks. At that point the older gentlemen, a physician, who were on the panel, half-jokingly responded: “Look at me!”

Fairview i-Connect has limited tracking capabilities at this point and demographic data is not available.
Some clinics reduced their e-mail time.

Kent Bottles (ICSI) concentrated on disruptive technologies and recommended three books:

Here Comes Everybody – Suddenly everybody has access to professional technology allowing aggregation of people.  One of interesting example is Diabetes Mine – a blog of a person living with diabetes.

The Innovator’s Prescription – “Provocative staff” – what changes are needed and how everything in the industry is changing.

Free: The Future of a Radical Price – another good book to read for health care professionals.

Are doctors “don’t get it” or “get it and don’t like it”?

Kent gave another recommendation (what is common in the industry): don’t expect physicians to write a blog – interview them on camera and post. It could be simple and effective approach.

From another side, physicians do want to communicate online and use social networks; popularity of Sermo proved that physician networks can be very valuable.

Examples of disruptive technologies: a pediatrician eliminated her office an significant part of the overhead by moving her practice into her car. She visits patients in their homes and keeps records on her computer. Most of needed pediatric procedures can be done in patient’s home with minimal equipment.

This Social Media Breakfast was a treasure of interesting examples and also a fun event. Petey P. Cup himself stopped by… 😉

Social Media Breakfast

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