A "HealthTweep" Pulse Check

Exploring transformational potential of social media

Posts Tagged ‘microblogging

Who Should Manage Your Social Media Strategy [Accepted for publication in The Physician Executive]

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By Kent Bottles, M.D., aka @kentbottles and Tom Sherlock aka @coloradohealth

Hospital and medical group leaders are facing the most challenging healthcare environment in recent memory. The need to decrease per-capita cost and increase quality to respond to federal healthcare reform and the global economy is a daunting task that requires two-way communication with a broad range of stakeholders. As reform unfolds, hospitals and medical groups of all sizes are embracing social media tools as soon as they realize that they’re no longer optional.

At least since the first quarter of 2010, analysts have been reporting that websites and search engines no longer dominate online communication.[i] Deloitte’s Social Networks in Health Care [ii] recently concluded that healthcare executives:

“who do not consider how to incorporate social networks into their future strategies risk being run over on the super-highway of health information sharing.”

Your social media strategy will work more smoothly when no one department has control, because it’s likely that before long employees in many of your departments will be using social media to do their jobs. It’s time for your Internet strategy to be managed by a qualified person — definitely one of your best-and-brightest — who reports directly to senior management and works with all department heads as an equal colleague.[iii]

You no longer have the opportunity to be an early adopter, but you can give yourself a big advantage by having people in every department who’ve been trained how to use social media intelligently, and who follow the lead of your social media manager. It’s essential that you understand that each of these tools is designed to nurture personal relationships and thereby strengthen loyalty to your institution:

  • We use Twitter as our principal example because it’s a more important business tool for hospitals and medical groups than Facebook.
  • If your organization isn’t already on Facebook, you should wait until you have a specific strategic reason for using it.
  • Blogs can be particularly effective business tools if they let readers get to know and understand the blogger. Paul Levy’s “Running a Hospital” blog[iv] has shown how a CEO blog can be a powerful communication and branding tool.
  • Many of your people should be listed on LinkedIn. Each person’s profile will be unique, but a certain amount of coordination is necessary to make sure your institution is identified accurately and consistently, for example.
  • Your YouTube channel can present videos that let people get to know some of your key physicians and nurses, for example. Your social media manager can see to it that the content, style, and production values of your videos will send the right message about your organization.

You might conclude that you need to hire someone new to manage your website and your social media strategy. But don’t rush into a decision to bring in someone new to be your social media manager just because they have experience with these tools. It would be far better to find someone who is already thoroughly familiar with and personally committed to your institution.[v]

Note right away that social media is not something you use for advertising or marketing, and that it doesn’t duplicate or replace any of the functions of your website. When you reduce it to its fundamentals, social media strategy isn’t complicated. It’s social. It’s about establishing and nurturing authentic relationships in ways that will build loyalty to your institution. Your social media manager will:
Listen to what’s being said about you anywhere on the Internet, with special attention to your own social media channels.Respond by engaging those who are talking to or about your organization.Establish relationships by showing people respect, honesty, and enthusiasm, and then nurture those relationships by authentic personal interaction. Your social media manager will…..   (Read complete blog post, here).

To listen to Kent’s sage yet witty podcast, ‘Muddling Through The Week In Healthcare’, click here or on the BlogTalkRadio image.

Kent Bottles, M.D., is a former medical school professor, president and ceo, chief medical officer, and chief knowledge officer who is now an independent health care consultant, keynote speaker, and writer. kentbottles@gmail.com and http://twitter.com/KentBottles

Tom Sherlock is an Internet strategist, Website producer, and content developer who has worked with businesses and healthcare professionals since 1994. tom@aicolorado.com and http://twitter.com/ColoradoHealth

Health Care Web Literacy with HealthTweep & Thought Leader @PhilBaumann

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On Tuesday’s broadcast at 9 AM Pacific and 12 Noon Eastern, I will chat with Phil Baumann on our nascent yet rapidly emerging new media, aka ‘social’ industry. We will talk about a range of issues from web literacy to content building, promotion, branding and attempts at monetization.

For more information on Phil see his blog here; and Twitter page here. Phil is a witty, generous producer and insightful publisher of social media pieces; a sampling of which can be seen via:  140 Health Care Uses For Twitter, The World’s First Twitter Chat for Nurses: RNchat, and Google Is Watching You: Building Your Reputation on Google.

We invite your participation in the program via call in, chat or Tweetstream’s of @PhilBaumann or @2healthguru; the call in phone number is 347.539.5527.

Written by 2healthguru

January 18, 2010 at 3:13 PM

Towards a values based ‘social media manifesto’ for hospitals and health systems

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In the ‘Twittersphere’ (aka micro-blogging) and blogosphere space we are witnessing increasing conversation into the nature and relevance of social media in general and its optimal application(s) in particular.

Just today we had some lively exchange in a Twitter ‘health care marketing‘ stream, using the #hcmktg hashtag.

As an affinity group primarily of marketeers, though not exclusively, the subtext of the questions generally focus on how can marketing, PR or communications specialists, better apply (i.e., ‘leverage’) this evolving technology in support of their institution’s mission? During these exchanges, we hear intermittent echoes of ROI, and other ‘metrics’ to measure performance, and therefore demonstrate value; particularly to the ‘C-suite” or usual suspect laggers to innovation.

The predominant interest seems to be how to perfect, deploy and manage a platform that essentially adds value to the individual facility or parent system in the aggregate. What might some of these dependent variables (or target outcomes) to measure be? In all likelihood, once we advance beyond image mindshare or service specific broadcasting, the likely ends include:

  • improve payor mix
  • maximize profitability
  • steal share from competitor(s)
  • position institution for proactive pursuit of defined or niche customer markets
  • reduce re-admission rate (wait, who said that? actually no one yet)
  • better integration with medical community
  • reduce costs

Don’t get me wrong, I love these tweeps (at least most of them). They are my people, and I delight at being a member of the tribe in occasional good standing as measured by select indicia of ‘twitter love’. Yet, no where in the discussion is the the application of this technology to impact the dyfunctional, often bloated and patently un sustainable business models on which some of their very jobs depend.

Where is the active exploration and application of social media tools to “transform’ or ‘re-engineer” the tapestry of admitted failed business models that constitutute ‘mainstream’ US HealthCare?

If social media tools are not used in service of the purposeful transformation of ‘dsyfunctional’ healthcare delivery and financing paradigms, what value does it add? Absent a values based application of social media technologies, I will answer one the questions posed above: ‘Is Twitter A Fad’? in the affirmative. It will flame out of it’s own weight, and ‘look what I can do’ chatty irrelevance.

In future posts, I intend to craft a draft ‘manifesto’ and welcome your active participation and comment.

Written by 2healthguru

July 10, 2009 at 1:08 PM

How Hospitals and Health Systems Should Not Use Twitter

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As has been well documented elsewhere, primarily by the oracle of social media adoption in the healthcare space, aka Ed Bennett, more institutional healthcare providers are putting a toe in the water whether via Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube or the fourth horse in the race, FriendFeed (though not tracked by Ed).

Most are lurking or “monitoring their brand” via select hashtags or semantic filters, or by following those active in the broad range of healthcare or wellness related issues. Others, and the vast majority in my experience, are primarily and sparsely “pushing content” from live surgical tweets to the press release “du jour”, i.e., our new cath lab or latest amenity addition.

Yet very few are participating at the level of engagement wherein “conversations are recognized as markets” per the Cluetrain Manifesto, in which the institution participates authentically with intent to establish and build a personal relationship with its followers or community.

Clearly hospitals and health systems are complex entities for which no one person can consistently speak both with authority and authenticity on behalf of the organization and still keep it “personal”.

By proxy prevailing institutional engagements in social media is typically conducted by a hospital or health system employee who may manage both a personal and institutional account, formally, informally or both.

In my view, the market leader aka “chancellor” in the medium of microblogging participation is @LeeAase of the Mayo Clinic, who also manages the @MayoClinic twitter account.

Lee is prolific in his educational content that is mostly directed to the internal constituency of Mayo, which is increasingly finding external interest in what Mayo is doing for their own institution’s consideration.

If you are a hospital, healthcare facility or parent system considering social media, please take the time to learn what is happening in the “Twittersphere”, and do pay attention to the evolving “agreements” of Twitter-etiquette.

As far as recommendations are concerned, here is a brief list of  “do’s and “don’ts”:


1.  Open an account with Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube and FriendFeed, claim your name and protect your brand on these platforms (note: also recommend including uStream.tv or equivalent).

2.  Get started by following people active in the healthcare space.

3.  Study the market, read the ClueTrain Manifesto.

4.  Find a smart, insightful and motivated person to task master the social media cause internally.

5.  Do contribute to the tribe’s knowlege base; this is a young but rapidly evolving industry.

6.  Do consider participating in or sponsoring a “HealthCamp”; where the web 2.0 and health 2.0 conversation meets and thrives.

7.  Do  start tweeting!


1.  Do not open an account and push bursts of press releases, directly or via the many automated tools available, simply broadcasting your wares.

2.  Do not push content into the stream unless you are prepared to respond directly and in a timely manner. Twitter is about engagement not silence, whether intentional or accidental.

3.  Do not act like a silo separate from the community you serve. Be open to what your followers have to offer you, from user feedback to issues relating to cost, quality, access and other consumer experience concerns.

Written by 2healthguru

May 19, 2009 at 12:24 PM