Social Media & the Delivery of Healthcare Part III:
May 09, 2012
Mayo Clinic started its social media presence in 2005 with its first podcast, subsequently incorporated Facebook and YouTube and launched its Twitter page in 2008. Mayo Clinic found that social media not only leads to better collaboration among researchers but also makes patients better informed and engaged about their own healthcare. In an effort to give other healthcare organizations the tools to integrate social media into their online mix, in 2010 Mayo Clinic launched its Social Media Center. By training these other groups in the use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc., Mayo hopes to assist their colleagues in bridging the gap between extensive use of the various digital channels by patients but tepid use by providers.
The educational potential of social media is huge. Henry Ford has been using live Twitter feeds for years to present new surgical techniques to physicians. To promote healthy lifestyles, the Innova system in Northern Virginia designed a Fit 4 Fifty program to encourage fitness for the 50+ population, thereby hopefully reducing obesity and cardiac disease. It also created a mobile app location guide to local farmer’s markets to enhance not only healthy but also local eating. YouTube videos by medical device users and manufacturers provide step-by-step instructions on use of portable dialysis machines; others assist with injections.
Pinterest facilitates the organization and sharing of specific interest content. Users create the equivalent of online bulletin boards, aggregating diverse content from different parts of the web. A healthcare organization interested in providing information on breast feeding could “pin” resources from the La Leche League and American Academy of Pediatrics websites, YouTube videos with lactation specialists, ebooks if available. All advance patient education and engagement, credibility of the content providers, and outreach to the community at large. Even if you do not create the bulletin board, your content might be “pinned,” drawing visitors to your website and other features/services you might provide.
Next time: Getting past the Fear.
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