Looking to the future of healthcare and social media with the Mayo Clinic

Posted by: in Healthcare Insights, Healthcare Technology, Social Media Insights & Trends on October 17, 2012

I’m really excited to be in Rochester, Minnesota this week at the Mayo Clinic’s Social Media Summit.  Two years ago, the folks at Mayo (led by healthcare/social media thought leader Lee Aase) formed the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media – an organization dedicated to helping people all over the healthcare industry learn how social tools and methods could be used to help people (and healthcare businesses) be healthier.  They’ve set up a really cool microsite to enable anyone to follow along with the conference … you can access it here: http://smw.socialmedia.mayoclinic.org/ (you’ll need to sign in with your twitter or facebook account).

One of the best things about a program associated with the Mayo Clinic is that some of the best minds in the country will come together and share their learnings with the group.  As the conference kicks off (I’m live-blogging from the conference floor), I thought it would be great to share some thoughts about the future of healthcare and social media as expressed by some of the speakers at the conference.

So without further ado, meet our Mayo Clinic Social Media Summit speakers!

Dan Hinmon – Principal, Hive Strategies

Vince Golla – Digital Media and Syndication Director, Kaiser Permanente

Dr. Ivor Horn – Associate Professor of Pediatrics (and MDigitalLife Alumna), Children’s National Medical Center

Ashley Howland – Social Media Manager, Baylor Health Care System

So let’s get started with our Q&A ….

In the context of your company or organization, what are your goals as they relate to social media? (e.g., Patient education? Practice building? Community service? Physician/Medical Education? Risk management/mitigation?)

Dan: Hive Strategies has been helping hospitals engage patients through social media for a couple of years now, and it is becoming increasingly clear to me that the ability to build patient communities will be crucial as health care transformation changes the way we care for patients. The way we market health care will change dramatically in the next 5-7 years, and the better we understand these community-building skills, the more successful we’ll be.

Vince: We’re looking to increase physician engagement for one, but we’re also really focused on how we can increase and harmonize social media engagement on a very large organization.

Ivor: As an organization, I think the goals of Children’s National Medical Center for social media are to serve as a tool to connect and build relationships with parents, patients, and other partners. Children’s National aims to be a resource for families and the community regarding children’s health and healthcare.  As an individual, I am specifically interested in engaging minority communities around issues of child health, including those that related to health disparities.

Ashley: I would say all of the above with a huge focus on patient education! We use our social media channels as a resource of health information–tools and tips that people can apply and use in their own lives. We also use social media to converse and engage with our communities to find out what kind of information they are looking for, what kind of experience they are having with us, etc. Social media has also proven to be a helpful customer service/patient satisfaction channel. We have been able to address some of our patients’ concerns as well as hear their feedback.

What are the biggest obstacles your organization faces in terms of enhancing its social/digital presence and interactivity?

Dan: Time. There is so much to understand, learn, and do that it seems like a never-ending process. In a world of information overload, focusing on the essential gets harder and harder. I look forward to hearing about this year’s big ideas in health care social media.

Vince: Agreeing to a single or aligned tools and platforms to maximize spend and measure impact.

Ivor: The biggest obstacles to social and digital presence in health care, in general, is a level of risk aversion among the medical community.  Organizations do not clearly understand the benefits for social/digital media yet.  There is the  question, “What is the ROI?” From a physician perspective, they are unlikely to be rewarded for their time investment in social media, though some organizations are changing this.  The combination of time commitment with little institutional support limits the number of providers participating on a significant level.

Ashley: Measurement. Like everyone else, we are trying to figure out the best way to track and measure our efforts in the social media space. We try to focus more on “Return on Engagement” (ROE) rather than “Return on Investment” (ROI) because ROI is difficult to measure. While we have many tools to track engagement, likes, followers, share of conversation, etc., it would be nice to have an efficient way to do it. Currently, we are using several different platforms. Once we figure out the best strategy for measurement, we will be able to better prove our worth and hopefully secure more resources for our efforts.

What are the most important healthcare/social media trends you see in the coming year? 

Dan: Emerging technologies will provide even better tools to integrate social media with patient care. There will be increased emphasis on integrating social media with traditional and digital marketing.

Vince: Systemic physician engagement, increases in ability to engender quick, aligned engagement regardless of location in organization

Ivor: There is a move from “Are you using social media?” to “Are you engaging your community through your use of social media?”  There is a shift toward measuring  impact.  Are we influencing behavior?  Are we educating our families more effectively?  How are we using social media to improve health communication?

Ashley: Online patient communities are a trend that is hopefully here to stay.

Also, being an advocate of organizations allowing employee access to social media sites, I am anxious to hear if the “blocking” trend is finally fading out. Are health care organizations still afraid of opening access or are they finally embracing it?

What are you most hoping to gain from your attendance at #MayoRagan this year?

Dan: This is my second year attending the conference and one of my strongest impressions from last year was the amount of energy in the group. I am really looking forward to meeting and interacting with so many people who are eager to share successes and explore fresh ideas. It’s going to be a great conference.

Vince: I’m looking to engage with some of the really sharp people here to do some “pressure tesring” our systems and finding other successful practices.

Ivor: To engage in dialogue about 1) reaching underserved and minority communities via social media to impact health behaviors, and 2) investing in physicians as media communication partners.

Ashley: I am hoping to learn more about social media measurement, enhancing physician involvement in social media and the success of Mayo Clinic’s (and other health care systems’) online patient communities.

And finally, I’ve recorded a video to introduce the conference … THAT’s how excited I am to be here. 😉

By: Greg Matthews

Greg Matthews is the the creator and Managing Director of the W2O Group's MDigitalLife - Understanding, Engaging and Activating Physicians in the Digital Age

Find me on: Twitter
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2 Responses

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  1. Anonymous said

    We do local search marketing for doctors and clinics. One thing I’ve noticed is that there is a perception that for healthcare professionals to get involved in using social media, their practices have to be overrun by Facebook posts and Twitter updates about silly things unrelated to their professional interests. They think that if they have a Facebook, Twitter, YouTube account or a blog that half their day will be spent wasting time, which those things do encourage for many of their users.

    However, the truth is that medical professionals have lots to gain from social media, and there are many different configurations that would work well for them and move their practice forward.

  2. Dan Hinmon said

    Thanks for this preview, Greg, even though I’m reading it after the conference. This year’s conference was even better than last year’s. It was so great to meet you! Love your research and your attitude. Smart.

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