Healthcare Social Communications

Posted by: in Communication Strategy, Healthcare Insights, Social Media Insights & Trends on March 18, 2011

Yesterday morning, I attended another great seminar from the Business Development Institute and founder Steve Etzler. The subject matter was social communications for healthcare companies and organizations. It’s a much-debated and feared subject, given the regulatory boundaries in which pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers operate. Here are some highlights from the speakers.

Marc Monseau, Director, Corporate Communications & Social Media,Johnson & Johnson

  • 61% of HCPs have read a blog, and 79% have watched an online video for personal or professional use
  • J&J has had 80,000 downloads of their mobile Black Bag app geared towards doctors are a real-time health news feed
  • J&J has created some closed communities for connecting professionals (vision care, diabetes)
  • J&J maintains strong relationships with doctors and especially with nurses via BlogWorld, Facebook, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter
  • Marc’s basics: listen to the conversation, establish your role, identify key influencers, establish policies, streamline approval process, resource appropriately, empower teams, remain flexible
  • Marc uses Google Reader to track the most influential health bloggers/writers
  • Funny moment: J&J reads a statement any dinners where they host doctors, saying that they won’t object if the doctors would prefer to pay for their meal

Brian Mulligan, Assistant VP of PR, North Shore – LIJ Health System

  • Getting your extended corporate message onto social media is like fitting a square peg into a round hole
  • The challenge: YouTube is fun, but HIPPA is serious business
  • North Shore LIJ refuses to put press releases on their Facebook page

Fred Muench, Associate Director of Research, The Partnership at

  • Patients are using social media to extend their health care
  • 30% of patients have e-communications with their HCP, but up to 70% of them WANT to have e-communications with their HCP
  • 78% of patients would like a counselor automatically alerted if they relapse
  • HCPs are concerned that their patients aren’t getting reliable information in the social health forums
  • People are having virtual AA meetings in Second Life (seriously … Second Life)
  • Largest growing population they are starting to cater their materials for is the U.S. Hispanic market

George Tunstall, SVP, Sales & Business Development, Within3

  • Within3 creates online health communities for pharmas, medical associations, HCPs
  • Virtual advisory board meetings can get satisfy the Sunshine Law by not paying for doctors’ travel and accommodations
  • Health care communities aren’t launched; they’re cultivated.

Bradley Jobling, Office of External Affairs, Columbia University Department of Surgery

  • Columbia has patient bloggers reach out to them for advice
  • They run 11 different Facebook pages around various topics
  • NY-based doctors have such a strong offline network among their peers that they don’t really use Sermo or Osmosis to information-exchange
  • You can’t do everything you want at once. Pick one program to kick off a social media initiative.
  • They participate in

By: Matthew Snodgrass

Group Director of Digital Strategy at NextWorks, partner of The W2O Group.

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