Thursday, May 7, 2009

Social Networking and Healthcare

The network is buzzing with excitement over twitter and social networking and there are increasing numbers of guides, top ten lists and other material aimed at the new participants in the world of twitter. Ashton Kutcher is doing it, Oprah Winfrey is doing it (albeit in CAPITALS initially) - interestingly the race to 1 million followers was close but now Ashton is almost double.

For the Record recently featured an article titled: Healthcare All Atwitter Over Social Networking that looked at the range of social networking tools. Everything from You Tube, Facebook, twitter and blogging is being used by the University of Maryland Medical System (twitter, facebook, blog and youtube links). They attract around 700 people per day that watch videos and read their material - new members, existing patients and more awareness of the system are all good results that will translate into business and good will.
Although healthcare organizations must deal with a unique set of challenges when it comes to establishing and maintaining a presence on social networking sites, they should nonetheless be taking the steps to utilize these sites and tools to reach out to patients and consumers. It is also imperative to monitor what is being said about them by others in the social media space to protect their brands and reputations.
It reminds me a lot of the discussions i was having ten years ago about a web presence with similar resistance to the idea of publishing or spending resource on a web site. Here we are today and it is hard to imagine any facility without a web site (usefulness, design etc widely varied) that is for the most part the online store front. It is not unreasonable to suppose that Social networking is the next innovation in the online/digital world.

In healthcare here is clearly a concern relating to protected health information (PHI) but this is a low cost
"It’s a grand experiment and it may fail, but the cost of entry is so low. It’s not like we have to decide to spend a million dollars to participate on Facebook. It’s more like investing a percentage of an employee’s time to set up an account. Hospitals should be saying ‘We’re here and we’re ready to talk to you.’ … You can just post press releases, or you can become very chatty and friendly. You’ll find out what the best match is for your personality and the way you think of yourself.”
Go ahead take a dip....join me on Twitter (and ranked #27 in the list of top CMO's on twitter), Facebook, LinkedIn, My other Blog - Navigating Healthcare or Plaxo....amongst some of the places I can be found online

No comments: