Not long ago, I read an article reporting that 1 in 5 Americans are using social media for healthcare information. It made me wonder if hospitals are calculating their market share -that is, the portion of those info seekers in your service area(s) who are accessing online information sponsored by your organization, rather than that of a competitor or sites that may have questionable trustworthyness.
Then, over the weekend I picked up on a tweet about efforts to smack down ROI. Basically, some in social media, not necessarily in healthcare, are promoting an anti-measurement agenda. My feeling is that we in healthcare must measure our performance. If it is important that we measure for evidence-based medicine, outcomes, patient satisfaction, compliance with regulations, improving quality and performance, managing risks, reporting, effective and efficient use of resources and more; then it is important that we measure the performance of our social media applications.
So this takes me to actually leveraging the technologies and learning to use social media in our healthcare environments and a couple of new resources that can help us all keep up with the rapidly evolving world of social media.
While at HIMSS last week, I came across two new social media white papers. The first is the Health IT Social Media Primer from HL7 Standards. It answers questions like "what do I need to know?" and "what should I tweet?", presents some important "how to" details and also reviews newer social media channels like Google+ and Quora (a question & answer forum).
The second is a new white paper from the HIMSS Social Networking Work Group, Healthcare "Friending" Social Media: What Is It, How Is It Used, and What Should I Do? It also reviews recent social media developments, but I found the reference to there being 787 hospitals on Foursquare, but less that 10% having claimed their listing to be most interesting. It reminds me of the teen patient who started a Facebook page in his childrens hospital's name, so he and the other patients could connect and support each other anytime.
I was also happy to see that the HIMSS workgroup included the example an HIO delivering virtual education for electronic health information exchange (HIE). And, I can't be more pleased that they also referenced my work. The topical review is publically available.
So, hospitals, do me a favor and:
- do reach out to the growing number of healthcare consumers searching for healthcare information from a trusted-source.
- do measure the performance and impact of your social media activities.
- don't let others control your domain name and brand.