Social Media and Healthcare
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Social Media and Healthcare
Articles and Discussions on the intersection of Social Media and Healthcare.
Relevant to Healthcare Practitioners, Pharma', Insurance, Clinicians, Labs, Health IT Vendors, Health Marketeers, Health Policy Makers, Hospital Administrators.
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2013 Survey of Social Media and Mobile Usage by Healthcare Professionals

Today’s clinicians are taking charge of their careers by honing in on job search sources, increasing the use of social media for finding jobs and networked connections, and optimizing their online footprint. And why not,Social Media Infographic considering that healthcare organizations seeking to hire these professionals are getting savvy in extending their brand messaging and customer experience across a variety of channels, including social media. Social media recruiting initiatives continue to grow, and job seekers are wise to keep up with online networking and job opportunities that may not be available via more traditional methods.

AMN Healthcare’s 2013 Survey of Social Media and Mobile Usage by Healthcare Professionals: Job Search and Career Trends, is a follow-up to two prior surveys in 2010 and 2011. It provides hospitals and other healthcare organizations, along with leaders in the field, with an inside look at clinicians’ job search methods, career development activities and social media practices, as well as how their behaviors have changed over time.

Responses to the 2013 survey indicate that the use of social media for job searching among clinicians and physicians has increased dramatically from the 2010 benchmark levels, while job boards, direct contact with organizations online and referrals remain important. Among other notable trends, Facebook has been upstaged by LinkedIn this year as the main social networking site of choice for job searching among healthcare professionals.
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Understanding the meaningful use of social media by surgeons

This talk was originally delivered on October 1st at the American College of Surgeons annual conference - #ACSCC12 #ps114
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Social Media Ethics: What Private Practice Therapists Need to Know

Social Media Ethics: What Private Practice Therapists Need to Know | Social Media and Healthcare |
Familiarize yourself with social media ethics and use technology intentionally to educate your community and to build your private practice.

The Internet and social media offer social workers and mental health therapists unprecedented opportunities to educate communities, to advocate for disadvantaged populations, to raise awareness about their private practice and professional services, and to establish themselves as experts in their specialty areas. Because people search online for health-related information, developing a strong online presence is increasingly important for social workers in private practice.

One aspect of developing an online presence is through social media. Although social media sites were often originally seen as “kid’s stuff,” that is no longer the case. For the first time in history, more than half of adults in the United States—65 percent—report using social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others. Even though these numbers are continuing to climb, many social workers seem reluctant to use and embrace social media as a valid professional activity. Fear regarding breaches of client confidentiality, potential dual relationships, and maintaining personal privacy are often cited as reasons for this reluctance.

Professional associations struggle to provide guidelines about how to ethically respond to specific technology issues because technology changes so quickly, says San Francisco psychologist Keely Kolmes, but that doesn’t mean the existing rules don’t apply in the digital realm. Without clear guidelines for social media use, social workers and other mental health professionals are encouraged to engage in ongoing discussions about policy guidelines and to use their own professional judgment in order to apply the current Code of Ethics in the digital world.

Social workers and mental health therapists who blog, post on Facebook, or use Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or any other social media should be deliberate in their behaviors—and mindful of the possible effects their online behavior may have on their clients and their careers. Engaging in meaningful and ethical social media activities can further the advancement of the core social work values: service to people in need, promotion of social justice, affirmation of the dignity and worth of each person, education on the importance of human relationships, demonstration of integrity and trustworthiness in our online behavior, and demonstration of a commitment to professional competence (NASW, 1999).

Here are suggested guidelines to mental health therapists engage in ethical social media use:1) There’s no such thing as absolute privacy or anonymity

Privacy breaches in large corporations or agencies are frequently reported in the news, and they show that no matter how vigilantly you safeguard digital information, leaks can happen. The only way to guarantee your online privacy is to refrain from posting anything online. Because opting out of the digital world is rarely an option, it’s important to be mindful that your online activities, including social media, have the potential to be seen by others.

2) Be intentional in social media use

There are many personal and professional uses for social media. Clarifying your purpose and your goals for engaging in each social networking activity is an important part of ethical social media usage. What is your goal in setting up this account? What kinds of information do you want to share? Who are you trying to reach with this account? Developing a clear rationale and specific goals for engaging in personal and professional social media activities will help guide your efforts. Separate personal and professional social media accounts.

3) Separate personal and professional social media accounts

After you’ve developed a clear intention for your social media usage, create separate personal and professional accounts and profiles. For example, on Facebook, once you set up a personal profile, you can set up a separate professional business page for your private practice. Separating accounts into personal and professional helps protect your personal information and helps establish and strengthen your professional online presence.

4) Stay informed about privacy settings

Familiarize yourself with the privacy settings for each social media account and check frequently for updates. Privacy settings are not static and may change over time. Use the highest level of privacy settings on your personal accounts in order to protect your personal information. For professional accounts, use privacy settings on the lowest level so that more people can find your private practice business information.

5) Be cautious when posting about work on social media

Every social worker has difficult days, but venting on social media is not the best venue for processing challenging work situations. In addition to being cautious about posting about your personal responses to work, never post information about clients, period. The well-being of clients and respect for the therapist–client relationship should guide your social media activities.

6) Develop a social media policy for your practice

Developing a social media policy for your private practice is an excellent way to clarify for yourself and for your clients if and how you will be engaging professionally in social media. Components of a social media policy may include information about friending, following, interaction, business review sites, location-based services, use of search engine, and preferred method of communication (Kolmes, 2010). Social workers need not be reluctant to engage in social media as professionals—as long as they are aware of how to protect their own and their clients’ privacy, to protect the client–therapist relationship, to be intentional in social media activities, and to develop a comprehensive social media policy.

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Survey Finds More Frequent & Sophisticated Use of Social Media in Job Searching by Healthcare Professionals

Survey Finds More Frequent & Sophisticated Use of Social Media in Job Searching by Healthcare Professionals | Social Media and Healthcare |

AMN Healthcare (NYSE: AHS), healthcare's innovator in workforce solutions and staffing services, announced today the results from its third survey of social media and mobile usage by healthcare professionals related to job search and career trends. The results showed that today's clinicians are becoming more discerning in the tools they use to manage their job search as they hone in on the most effective job search sources, increase their use of social media for finding jobs, and optimize their online footprint.

"As healthcare organizations continue to seek the highest quality and most qualified clinicians to meet their permanent or contingent needs, it becomes increasingly more critical to understand how these healthcare professionals are seeking career opportunities," stated Ralph Henderson, President of Healthcare Staffing at AMN Healthcare. "Our research clearly shows that online and social sources continue to grow in popularity, but even more importantly, that clinicians are using a myriad of social channels available to them more strategically than in the past. Innovative digital and social recruitment strategies are needed to reach high-demand healthcare professionals."

The use of social media for job searching has nearly doubled since first measured in 2010 with 42% actively engaged. Healthcare professionals are using social media to:

-- Look at job postings; -- Research companies; and -- Determine whether they know anyone that could assist in their job search.

Additionally, more than twice as many healthcare professionals now receive mobile (text) job alerts than in 2010 (20%), and those who do are reporting success getting interviews and job offers, especially those who have opted-in to receive alerts from recruiters. Healthcare professionals do differ widely in their use of social media and mobile devices though, with physicians ranking least likely to use social media in a job search and pharmacists ranking the most likely.

Overall, healthcare professionals appear to be using significantly fewer resources to look for a job than in prior years, with almost all sources decreasing in the 2013 survey. The most frequently cited sources for job searches were direct contact (62%), online job boards (60%) and referrals (51%). Meanwhile, the three most effective sources (resulted in a new job) were direct contact, referrals and "recruiter found me."

"Increasingly, clinicians are using social media to augment their job search, combining interactive digital sources with direct recruiting contact to change positions and further their careers. As AMN continues to cultivate the largest database of quality clinicians in the U.S., we are employing advanced technology and online recruitment efforts that meet the job search preferences of healthcare professionals today," concluded Mr. Henderson.

Other Key Findings:

-- Approximately 50% of clinicians enhanced their social profile information and about one-third say they have refrained from posting negative content. -- Healthcare professionals said that if they could choose only one general social media site for career purposes, that site would be LinkedIn (58%), Facebook (24%) and Google+ (10%). This represents a significant decline year over year for Facebook as the one site of choice, with an equally significant rise in choosing LinkedIn. -- Clinicians and physicians chose MedScape (39%) as their one favored healthcare-related social media site for career purposes, followed by (10%) and (8%). -- Approximately half of clinicians said they use social media to look for job postings; approximately 40% use it to research a company; one-third use it to see if they know someone that can help in their job search; less than 20% use it to reach a recruiter; and approximately 10% use it to reach out to the HR department.

The full report can be found on the Industry Research page of the AMN Healthcare website, Click here to access the survey directly.

About the AMN 2013 Survey of Social Media and Mobile Usage by Healthcare Professionals

AMN Healthcare's third Survey of Social Media and Mobile Usage provides insight into clinicians' job searching methods and their use of online resources for professional networking and career development. Employers and healthcare leaders can use the results of the survey to gauge the effectiveness of various social media networks and related applications as they develop future plans for recruiting.

The survey was conducted during the spring of 2013. Survey questionnaires were emailed to 87,201 clinicians and 1,902 completed the survey for a response rate of 2.18%. Respondents included registered nurses, allied professionals, physicians, pharmacists, advanced practice professionals, dentists and others.

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Using social media to make sense of health reform

Using social media to make sense of health reform | Social Media and Healthcare |

The Affordable Care Act has been quite a hot topic lately. When visitors hit a site that did not work, they took to social media to speak their minds.

Even with all of the social media and news media coverage, people are still confused! Check out the responses from the general public when Jimmy Kimmel took to the streets in his segment, Obamacare vs. the Affordable Care Act.

Whether it has been out of rage, disgust or confusion, Twitter has been filled with comments surrounding the Affordable Care Act. As the government works on, social media seems like the best place to get help and find health care options. A few days ago, I ran across an infograph with some pretty noteworthy statistics:

• 85 percent of health care companies already engage in some form of social media marketing or plan to do so within the next year.

• 1 out of every 7 physicians contribute content daily to a social media website.

• 41 percent of people said social media would affect their choice of health care provider.

Being that Nashville is on the forefront of the nation's health care and digital industries, I believe these statistics are probably even higher for Tennesseans. Whether you're a provider or a patient, here are a few ways to leverage social media in wake of the changes:

Social media tips for patients

• Make sure you're following the best information. Because there are a lot of people talking about the Affordable Care Act, it can be difficult to navigate through the noise.#GetCovered has become the official hashtag for the health care push, and there are other helpful hashtags to help you find the right information.

• Leverage social media to find a provider that's right for you. Whether it's looking at the reviews of other patients through social media sites or monitoring the response and engagement rate of potential health care providers, there are lots of things you can learn about the quality of a potential provider by doing a little research through social media.

Social media tips for providers

• Share useful information. There are a lot of things that people are still trying to figure out with the Affordable Care Act. The best way to leverage social media is to share helpful information with your existing and potential patients. Share what you know in a simple, straightforward way.

• View social media as a dialogue, not a monologue. Social media isn't just a broadcast tool; it's a place for conversation. If you want to really leverage it, use it to answer questions your patients have. Engage with them. Respond to their tweets or comments. The best way to set yourself apart as a thought-leader on the changes in health care is to proactively answer the questions people are asking.

As patients and providers look ahead to the future of health care, it's important to leverage the tools we have and work together to find the best health care solution for everyone.

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Social media - can it help patient communications

Social media - can it help patient communications | Social Media and Healthcare |

Over the last while, there is an increasing use of social media by healthcare organisations to communicate with patients and families.  I wanted to highlight three separate cases which demonstrate a wide variety of use with practical benefits. The other important trend is the inclusion of assessing the degree of online access a patient has to their information into Government schemes such as in the United States. More about that below.

Turning to our e-advisors

When reviewing different aspects of their services, why not involve your customers in giving feedback -  a recommended approach. With social media, there are more options in addition to the traditional face-to-face customer focus groups. One example is the use of the "virtual advisory council" by Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Children's Hospital in Delaware to provide advice on new patient procedures including appointments scheduling or simplifying patient information leaflets. 

One interesting aspect of this communication by Nemours Children's hospital is that the recruitment for the advisory council is managed by public social media sources such as Twitter, with the actual feedback is managed by a private social network. There are other examples where healthcare organisations use solely public social media - for example, University of Michigan Health System's online engagement with their patients and families comprises up to 35 online surveys a year and the use of a Facebook page to enable a teen council respond to questions.

Given the busy lifestyles of patients and families, using social media makes a lot of sense - a 24/7 service that enables healthcare organisations to widen their net for feedback and comment.  

Tracking what people say
The use of social media to engage directly with patients and families is one online option, but can we track what people are saying about a healthcare organisation in the social media sphere. That's what the 'Insights' - a beta service launched by the NHS - is seeking to achieve by tracking sentiment and online commentary about the NHS and its services. There is also a 'specific' page for Patients and staff which displays information on top complaints and the key customer service question - 'Would you recommend the NHS to others? 

This service is planned to formally launch in November 2013 and in a paper to the NHS England board, Tim Kelsey listed the key objectives behind the service was to provide "...a never before seen view of experiences and views about the NHS from patients, the public and NHS staff...
And what about patient information
Some hospitals and medical practices are starting to put patient information online; either in a view-only mode or to enable patients update their records with any relevant comments. This may not be regarded as traditional social media, but it is an important feature in any online patient engagement. 

One interesting case study in providing online medical information to patients involves Cleveland Clinic and their open medical records policy. For Cleveland Clinic, providing online medical record information to patients was part of a patient engagement strategy which started with services such as online scheduling and patient education. 

Their open medical records policy started with providing lab test results to patients since October 2012 and evolving since then to include viewing and updating doctor's notes. Currently, there are a number of pilots enabling patients to update their records with reported outcomes after the completion of a treatment. 

Measuring Patient Engagement
These three case studies show the evolution of online patient engagement and the role that social media services contribute to this engagement. As a measure of the evolution, healthcare organisations are now assessed on their online patient engagement. 

One example of this is the Patient Engagement Index, which is part of the Meaningful Use assessment in the US as part of the roll-out of Electronic Health Records. Part of the Meaningful Use assessment includes assessing that more than half of patients receive 'timely' summaries of their clinician visits. 

By including online patient information access in the assessments of healthcare organisations, it provides a tangible objective to achieve.

The above examples are just a sample of the progress being made with online medical information access, I would welcome hearing about other examples and online experiences.   
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How Pfizer reclaimed its Twitter handle

How Pfizer reclaimed its Twitter handle | Social Media and Healthcare |

Proving one’s identity can be a tricky thing on Twitter. There are probably few things more galling than identity theft.

And yet, Twitter has been the source of many incidents of this when it comes to celebrities . But when it comes to corporate twitter accounts, it gets a bit surreal. Company marketers are faced with the challenging task of proving they’re legitimate in the face of a skeptical public. Pfizer is a good example of this.

Big pharma company Pfizer has had an account on Twitter since 2009. Or at least it seemed like it did. But as pharma marketing blogger John Mack  (@pharmaguy) reports in a recent post, the company had to initially settle for @Pfizer_news because @pfizer had been taken by someone else.

There were certain telltale signs that @pfizer was not the handle of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. For one thing, it was posting unflattering news stories that no corporate social media marketer would post. Here’s one example Mack referenced: ’St. Clair County woman filed suit against Pfizer & one of its employees alleging she was injured after the employee collided w/ her vehicle.’

Yet, @Pfizer_news did not seem entirely legitimate either when it went live in 2009, recounts Mack. It was mainly because its Twitter page looked “amateurish.”  That prompted an amusing Twitter exchange  between Mack and Pfizer, including Ray Kerins,  then the head of global media relations who has since moved to Bayer.

Only recently has Pfizer, which has 56,000 followers on Twitter, reclaimed ownership of Twitter handle @pfizer.

Mack cited a report by PM Live in which Pfizer stated:

“We didn’t want to delay our entry into social media, so we decided to choose an alternate handle for our launch: @pfizer_news.

“Many of you already write @pfizer in your mentions and messages (even before we had the name), so it feels right to swap in @pfizer to replace @pfizer_news as the new name of our primary feed.”

Mack suspects Twitter let Pfizer acquire it but for how much? Since Twitter has gone public it’s likely to do some more housecleaning for pharma brands. Although Merck (@merck) and Amgen (@amgen) have also claimed their handles, he sees Bristol Myers-Squibb and Johnson & Johnson as having a slightly greater challenge. Why? Because @bms and @jnj don’t violate trademarks.


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Healthcare Social Media: Unpacking the #Hashtag

Healthcare Social Media: Unpacking the #Hashtag | Social Media and Healthcare |

If you frequent just about any social media site these days, you’re probably familiar with the hashtag. Using a hashtag (or pound symbol: #) in front of a word or phrase creates a clickable link that collects other users tweets or statuses that also include that hashtag. For instance, if you write a tweet about your weekend plans including the hashtag “#TGIF” and then click the link Twitter creates out of your hashtag, you’d likely see hundreds of thousands of tweets from users also praising the weekend. Because of this connection, hashtags are a great—and often underutilized—marketing tool.

Healthcare Social Media: Hashtags Across all Networks

And hashtags are clearly not going anywhere. At one point, they were unique to Twitter, but now other social media platforms have jumped on board. Facebook, Instagram, and Google+ all employ hashtag links, so you can benefit from connections across all of your healthcare practice’s profiles. To help encourage you to embrace the hashtag, we’ve come up with five ways they can influence your marketing.

5 of the Best Ways to Use Hashtags


  1. Hold a Live Chat on Twitter: Perhaps you’ve received feedback from your patients that they wish doctors were more readily available to answer basic health inquiries and curiosities. A hashtag delegated live chat is the perfect forum for taking that feedback to heart. Announce that patients will be able to tweet questions with the hashtag #AskDrSmith between a certain time period. Doctors will be able to follow the tweets and answer the questions as they come in by searching for all tweets containing the hashtag.
  2. Stage a Giveaway: Offering a contest is a great way to bring in new followers and create traffic to your social media sites. For instance, say “Happy Hospital” has been working on an exercise initiative with the local gym and has a free membership to give away. They might post a blog explaining the contest and encouraging contestants to enter by posting a status, tweet, or photo to Instagram about their favorite way to exercise with the hashtag #HappyHospitalFitnessPlan. Happy Hospital would then randomly select a winner from the posts by searching for the hashtag.
  3. Take a Poll: Feedback is a great way to make your patients feel involved in their standard of care. By creating a feedback hashtag, you can invite your patients to be active participants in your practice’s growth and development. Whether it’s a one-time poll (“What are your thoughts on the new healthcare portal? Tweet with the hashtag #portalfeedback to let us know!), or something more long term, seeking out feedback lets your patients know you care. For long term feedback, you could even consider posting a sign at your reception desk: “How was your visit? Tell us! #HappyHospitalFeedback.”
  4. Collect Information: Since hashtags have the great ability to link posts from extended periods of time into one collection, you can use them to connect posts of similar categories and provide easy reference for yourself and your followers. Maybe you have a regular “Patient Stories” feature onyour blog. Well, anytime you promote those posts on your social media platforms, you can tag them with #HappyHospitalPatientStories and have them collected by the hashtag for easy access. You can employ a similar method for categorizing posts that you might use on your blog so users can search your hashtags in the same way they would search your blog archives.
  5. Join a Broader Conversation: Perhaps the best quality of hashtags is their ability to connect similar interests across a whole range of users. Using broader categories in your hashtags is a great way to connect with other healthcare practices, medical professionals, or concerned patients for a unique exchange of information. Just as you can tag your posts with hashtags like #hearthealth and #cancerresearch, you can also search to see what the conversation about those categories currently is on any given day. Plus, interacting in the broader conversation is a great way to amass new followers and bring attention to your practice.


We’ve found that content marketing works best when it makes the world feel small and hashtags certainly seem to have that effect on social media at large. You’ve probably heard us say a time or two (or twenty…) that social media is all about connecting. Well, hashtags are a great resource for finding and making connections while taking big strides in your marketing plan. Hashtags can help make your healthcare practice more visible, while simultaneously allowing users to feel involved in daily processes.

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How Healthcare professionals using social media for career advancement?

How Healthcare professionals using social media for career advancement? | Social Media and Healthcare |
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Should pharma abandon social media?

Should pharma abandon social media? | Social Media and Healthcare |

Not only do I like Brand X, I LOVE it. I LOVE it so much that all I want to do is sing from the rooftops, shout from the mountains, and take out a full-page ad in the New York Times. I tell everyone on my Facebook page that they have to buy Brand X right now. I tweet that Brand X has changed my life, that it will change yours too, that my followers should follow Brand X's hashtag right away! But, most importantly, I set up a Pinterest page to share themes that remind me of Brand X, maybe other brands too.

Hey, Pharma—does this sound like your greatest dream or your worst nightmare? I bet it's the latter. While this kind of brand recognition is critical in the potato chip industry or the mobile phone world, our industry is simply not set up for this kind of promotion. After all, we deal in science, and science is serious business. Personal health is a serious matter, and while it's true that we want to sing from the rooftops when we are well, it's quite the opposite when we are sick. Illness is usually not something to be celebrated, or followed, or promoted.

What are the virtues of using a platform like Facebook (and trust me, Facebook has proven that it is no friend of Pharma) to promote your pharmaceutical brand? Can you really support the resources it will require to continuously provide value to your audience? Most marketers I know are focused on sales, not influence, and it's a pretty “soft” return on investment to turn a connection on Facebook into an Rx. Branded social media is full of pitfalls anyway—with our vague digital guidance (or lack thereof), it's quite a challenge to communicate responsibly in many digital venues (and when you get to mobile, the venue becomes even smaller). When it comes to direct-to-consumer, our overrepresentation of side effects, required for their knowledge and safety, makes consumers feel anxious to begin with.

So let's say you are going the non-branded route: you're the market leader and are willing to put some energy behind maintaining a living, breathing social-media channel. That the return for you is awareness about the condition, or building a community of patients because you know they are all using your product, and adherence is what keeps you up at night. Sounds reasonable to me. So what's the plan? What happens when a new product director takes over in 18 months and social media is not in her plan? This is not an ad in a journal that you can just stop running. This is a community that relies upon the commitment you have made to supporting them. Then what? Quietly disappearing in the middle of the night leads to feelings of overwhelming disappointment—in a matter of minutes, a company can undo all the good work they have done.

There are clear examples of success in using social media to communicate in our industry. For example, Sanofi has done an excellent job of creating a diabetes community. They have invested in building and maintaining that community, even creating a marketing role for a Director of Patient Insights, whose function is to build credibility by being a member instead of an outsider (from her LinkedIn page: “Digital Content Marketing & Community Engagement on behalf of the US Diabetes Patient Centered Unit”). Companies like Wego Health have done a great job of bringing Pharma and key digital influencers (who they call “patient activists”) together to guide the industry toward better communications. But the thinking behind both of these efforts is a long-term play, something few marketers in our industry can sustain.

For example, YouTube was an effective channel for Viagra to communicate to men about the dangers of buying counterfeit Viagra from non-accredited online pharmacies. The high-quality video Pfizer produced was engaging, and the supporting campaign was thorough and well-planned. However, last I checked, that channel was gone, likely falling victim to a new brand regime. A shame, really, that all the work to build trust was not sustainable.

And this is really my issue with social media and Pharma. Before jumping in, you need to truly understand the premise of social media: it's about building relationships. We all know that the industry may never have really deep relationships with its customers, but that doesn't mean there isn't an opportunity. Health is personal and emotional—excellent seeds for starting a relationship. The real problem is with Pharmasustaining any relationship it does create. My recommendation: plan carefully and realistically. Good relationships take time to cultivate, constant attention, and the resources to support them. And good relationships last longer than 18 months.

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Online Hospital Websites and Revenue - Converting Patients Online!

Online Hospital Websites and Revenue - Converting Patients Online! | Social Media and Healthcare |
Today, 8 out of 10 health consumers are visiting hospital websites. But up to 90% end up going somewhere else without making an appointment. Can your hospital afford this?

Public data shows that an increasing number of healthcare consumers have high expectations regarding the presence, timeliness, convenience and access to specialists. On the other side, hospitals are losing valuable revenue by failing to implement convenient usability features to optimize the online experience for an increasingly tech-savvy, internet-oriented patient.

Hospitals that have just 10 website visitors a day can lose up to $34,000 of annual patient revenue opportunity per day.

Patients are turning to online healthcare access but with poor results

Research from InQuicker found that 83% of consumers are visiting hospital websites before converting into patients, while 70% of Internet consumers routinely abandon brand name retail websites because they cannot find what they need.

A article published in the Journal of Healthcare Management states that hospital websites must be re-engineered to serve a changing audience with heightened expectations. Most hospital websites “read like brochures” by a bad marketing division rather than facilitating business goals.

Hospital sites, like Cleveland Clinic, highlight appointment access and online chat to prospective consumers.

Adoption of conversion functionality, online scheduling and ER wait times, have show the following ROI ::

200% increase in online patient conversionsBoost in patient revenue and profits for providers25-35% increase in net new commercial care payor mix90% patient satisfaction for better reimbursementsLower ER readmission, Left Without Being Seen, and length of stay rates

Isnt it worth the effort?
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3 Compelling Reasons Why You Can No Longer Afford to Ignore Google+

3 Compelling Reasons Why You Can No Longer Afford to Ignore Google+ | Social Media and Healthcare |

Why should you use Google+?There are lots of good reasons to pay attention to Google+, but for me it comes down to these three:

Search is becoming socialGoogle+ Authorship is becoming a filter for quality contentGoogle+ has the best user experience of any social network
Visit the link to find additional insights, resource links, and useful Google+ information.

Via Lauren Moss, malek
Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, November 14, 2013 5:00 PM

Protecting content and getting benefits of authorship become more important. Here's some good information.

Hanin Abu Al Rub's curator insight, November 18, 2013 2:56 AM

I believe so...

Jim Doyle's curator insight, December 6, 2013 1:13 AM
3 Compelling Reasons Why You Can No Longer Afford to Ignore Google+
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Alerts from Government Agencies using Twitter

Alerts from Government Agencies using Twitter | Social Media and Healthcare |

ust a few years ago, the general public relied on live television to provide emergency information from government agencies. Today, social media immediately delivers that information in real time, helping to save lives in emergency situations.

But with social media, everyone has a voice, and not all the information you read is factual and true. That has recently changed as Twitter recently announced the launch of Twitter Alerts, a new feature that gives users important and accurate information from select credible organizations during emergencies, natural disasters or moments when other communication services aren’t accessible.

The tweets, which publish during a crisis or emergency, contain up-to-date information relevant to an unfolding event, such as public safety warnings and evacuation instructions. Users receive emergency Twitter Alerts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Twitter, users who sign up for the alerts will receive a notification directly to their phone whenever that account marks a Tweet as an alert. Notifications are delivered via SMS, and if you use Twitter for iPhone 5.1 or higher or Twitter for Android 4.1.6, you’ll also receive a push notification. Alerts also appear differently on your home timeline from regular Tweets; they are indicated with an orange bell.

After disasters like Superstorm Sandy and the Boston Marathon bombing, this new potential lifeline can become critical during dangerous situations.

To subscribe to these notifications, go to the Alerts setup page for the organization you wish to receive alerts from (e.g., Additionally, if an organization is part of the program it will notify the user when visiting their Twitter page on the web.

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4 Reasons Your Healthcare Brand Needs a Social Media Policy

4 Reasons Your Healthcare Brand Needs a Social Media Policy | Social Media and Healthcare |

Today 31% of healthcare organizations have specific social media guidelines in writing. Regulating and controlling the conversation on social media is an ever-growing responsibility as a brand. The potential for employees to publicly generate stories and conversation about your brand is far more likely, and you have a choice: to either be proactive or reactive. It is your corporate duty to legally set standards on social media.

Social media has led to an increased expectation of transparency in any industry. And for brands in the healthcare industry, it requires treading extremely lightly since the nature of your content is, in general, far more sensitive. Diving head-first into the social space as a health care brand is daunting. It is equally as daunting to consider the extent to which your employees have the ability to share.

Here are four reasons it is essential for your healthcare brand to build an internal social media policy:

1. Enforce Existing Policies: Utilize your social media policy to enforce your previously existing policies. Likely, all are able to cross-integrate. Violations across legal concerns such as privacy, confidentiality, and internet usage at work can all tie directly back to social media usage. Your social media policy can and should be enforced as a separate document, however it should also be aligned with all existing regulations.

2. Educate and Engage Your Employees: As Likeable Media Talent DirectorBrian Murray stated:  ”Society is shifting in its understanding of how to be professional on social media.” It should no longer be frowned upon for your employees to engage with you as a brand. It should be encouraged to join in the conversation, engage on your social networks, and grow social brand advocates. Social media policies do not have to strictly limit; they can also lay out ways in which employees can and should get involved as well! And if your employees are not as knowledgeable in networking, you can leverage your social media policy to educate your employees about your current social media strategy and vision.

3. Regulate Shared Content: Establishing a specific social media policy allows you to regulate the content that is shared. By establishing strict guidelines for anything that is shared regarding the brand, you are able to reprimand for malpractice and ensure that employees understand the consequences associated. Your brand’s credibility, reputation, and image can be drastically harmed by any misleading content shared. Guidelines can also help protect your brand in the future for content that could be stolen and shared later on. Confidentiality should be top of mind for all content regulations set in your social media policy. Not only should you regulate shared content from a brand perspective, you have a responsibility to protect patients and their confidentiality.

4. Consumers Expect Online Thought Leadership: There is a fine line to walk when it comes to building your social media strategy as a healthcare brand. One thing is guaranteed: Consumers today go to social media to gain information, and they expect your thought leadership. 60% of social media users are more likely to trust social media posts and activity by doctors over any other group. Your social media policy should outline requirements for users to specify their affiliation with your brand. In order to facilitate social media users associating your brand as a thought leader, it is important that there is consistency and uniformity. Social media policies can even tier expectations based on position within the company, for example: setting standards for verified doctors’ social media content.

The content and extent of social media policies vary across industry. As a healthcare brand, it is your responsibility to protect the sensitive nature of your company. These four points are just a handful of the many reasons why your brand needs to regulate via social media policies.

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Managing chronic pain through social media

Managing chronic pain through social media | Social Media and Healthcare |

Healthcare systems are facing a number of pressures including increased costs, service demands, chronic diseases, an ageing population and skills shortages. However, increasing use of information and communications technologies is transforming healthcare delivery by changing how information is stored, accessed and shared. This is impacting clinicians and patients alike.

One area of concern is chronic pain management, estimated to cost the Australian economy $34 billion annually. There is a lack of understanding and stigma associated with chronic pain that presents ample opportunity to explore new and unique methods supported by high-speed broadband. This project explores how peer-to-peer networking and social media can be optimised to improve healthcare by empowering chronic pain patients and enhancing self-management.

While the healthcare industry has cautiously begun to embrace social media, the technology has a strong potential to support patient management. A key focus of this research will examine how these platforms are utilised, what information is communicated and whether the information is meaningful in order to inform clinical use of social media for chronic pain management.

Survey: Social Media use by People with Chronic Pain

Mark Merolli's innovative research aims to bring increased rigor to the way in which evidence of improved health outcomes can be achieved using social media in chronic conditions. His literature review on social media use in chronic disease management has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Biomedical Informatics and he will be presenting findings at the Medicine 2.0 Conference in September in London.

As part of this project, he has developed an online survey to better understand how social media is used to manage chronic pain as a result of various chronic diseases. In particular, individual perceptions regarding 'how' different social media influence health outcomes. The survey is explained in the short video below.

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Sermo Poll: Mobile Technology and App Use by Physicians

Sermo Poll:  Mobile Technology and App Use by Physicians | Social Media and Healthcare |
Physicians and technology. A bias persists that doctors don’t use technology enough, particularly social media and apps. Here at Sermo, we see things a little bit differently. While some doctors are reluctant to enter the digital pool, we have found that once they adopt, they adopt enthusiastically.

Our recent polling backs that up. Doctors are open to adopting more technology to manage their practices and they embrace medical reference apps.

The most popular smart phone for physicians is the iPhone according to MedCrunch. A few top apps are listed below and of course, our Sermo physicians are big adopters of our free iConsult app.

Medscape. Used by over 3 million doctors, nurses and medical students worldwide, Medscape is big. You can use it for medical news, clinical reference to things like drugs, diseases, conditions and procedures, and even provides medical education.

EpocratesRx. This app is popular for drug interactions, research, Pill ID and medicine calculators. The lite version is free, but you can purchase the full version for $160.

NeuroMind is a great app for neurologists, neurosurgeons and med students. It provides basic safety checklist requirements via the World Health Organization, and has “interactive clinical decision support.” It is the number one neuro app with over 140,000 downloads.

As a physician, do you use medical reference or other medical apps to help improve patient care for your patients? If you’re an M.D. or a D.O. you can continue the conversation inside Sermo and try out the iConsult app too.
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Social Media and Healthcare - Interview With Dr. Gwenn

Social Media and Healthcare - Interview With Dr. Gwenn | Social Media and Healthcare |

With the emergence of social media as a significant cultural force, many healthcare organisations have tried to leverage this power to help the development of public health. The ways in which this should be implemented has become a contentious issue and one that has divided opinion amongst medical professionals.

To offer an expert insight into this world, we set up a one-off interview with Pediatrician and digital media specialist, Dr. Gwenn who is the CEO of health and communications company, Pediatrics Now. Find out what she had to say:

121doc: Modern life revolves around social media. Can you outline the general benefits of such a sweeping online movement?

Dr.Gwenn: Participation in social media channels like Facebook and Twitter can extend peoples view of self, community and, ultimately, the world. These benefits include:

  • Opportunities for community engagement through raising money for charity and volunteering for local events.
  • Enhancement of individual and collective creativity through sharing
  • Fostering of one’s individual identity and unique social skills
  • Expansion of ideas through collaboration on social media ‘out of class’
  • Wider access to health information

121doc: ...What about the negative effects of social media?

Dr.Gwenn: There are some risks associated with social media including:

  • CyberBullying and Online Harassment
  • Facebook depression
  • Privacy concerns
  • Influence of behavioral ads and demographic-based ads

As emphasized in the American Academy of Pediatrics Social Media Clinical Report. I co-authored in 2011, there are, indeed, positive and negative benefits of social media on our kids’ lives. However, the positives do outweigh the negatives. What parents have to recognize is that social media is a tool. It’s the use of the tool that makes it “positive” or “negative”.

121doc: We all know that visiting your local doctor isn’t a social act especially when compared to occasions like shopping or dining. Considering this, do you think a ‘social media meets health’ mentality might distract from the serious issues that healthcare professionals have to deal with?

Dr.Gwenn: Absolutely not. The impact of social media on a child’s health is significant and serious when issues arise such as cyberbullying and sexting that can lead to issues of depression and suicidality if not dealt with adequately. All of these issues impact a child’s health and need to involve a healthcare professional.

A pediatrician specializes in pediatrics, which is the field of medicine that cares for “children and their diseases” ( Social media may be a tool but it often is a vehicle for facilitating behaviors in others that trigger conditions in children impact their health and well being, such as cyberbullying or sexting causing depression leading to eating disorders or cutting or suicidality. As long as harm can occur to a child, health care professionals must be involved.

121doc: Recent studies have indicated that 60% of adults turned to the World Wide Web to learn about health. Do you have any advice to those people that search on Google to identify their symptoms?

Dr.Gwenn: If people are concerned about their health and symptoms, the best resource is always their healthcare provider. If they are going to go to “Dr. Google”, reading websites written by true experts are the best ways to avoid misleading information.

121doc: Many experts are saying that Google Glass may change the face of Medicine. Do you agree?

Dr.Gwenn: Google Glass is too new to evaluate at this point for any application, including medicine. As we learn more about it and test it in various settings, its uses will become more clear.

121doc: Do you see any problem with healthcare professionals using social media channels like Facebook and twitter?

Dr.Gwenn: There can be issues with healthcare professionals engaging on social media if they do not follow the privacy rules of their country and healthcare institutions. Before engaging on Facebook or Twitter, healthcare professionals should consult with their healthcare organizations to be clear on the rules and understand what is and isn’t allowed.

121doc: Many people here in the UK are not aware of the Web 2.0 movement. Can you briefly outline its goals and how it can help public health?

Today’s web experience is social and interactive. In a nutshell, that’s what “web 2.0” means. It’s the next generation of web experiences from the initial wave of websites we all remember that were very static and non-interactive. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest, Google +, Instagram...all Web 2.0. Communities...web 2.0. Basically, all of your experiences today online are web 2.0.

Web 2.0’s usefulness in public health is constantly evolving. With these tools, experts can get information to huge amounts of people very quickly. From the flu season to unexpected health crisis to world events, this is a valuable way to inform the public of important ways to stay health and help each other out. More locally, web 2.0 helps patients reach doctors, doctors reach patients. Patients can have more control over their health records and obtain prescriptions and other important documents needed to care for themselves and their family members more efficiently.

The main areas I see web 2.0 assisting in our lives are with education, information and communication. Sometimes it’s on a massive scale and sometimes a more local scale. All are needed in today’s world but with web 2.0 tools we can be much more targeted and more efficient.

Some insightful answers from Dr. Gwenn here; her expert knowledge has clarified some important principles about how social media can be integrated into healthcare. Her responses have particular resonance with parents who may be a little skeptical about the affect social media is having on their children. Are you worried about your child’s activity on the web? If so, drop us a comment below and we will endeavor to get back to you.

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How Social Media is Changing Health Care?

How Social Media is Changing Health Care? | Social Media and Healthcare |

Online chatrooms and forums have always been a place where people are more open and speak more freely, often sharing intimate information that they’d have a hard time telling a close friend.  Now drug companies and doctors are using social media, blogs and online forums to gather information on patients that they may be reluctant to share with their doctor.

People tend to be more open on the internet because it’s just them and a machine, a sense on anonymity allows them to open up about things they may otherwise hide.  Things like side effects of medications, experiences in a particular doctors office or just talking honestly and openly about their illness.

So companies are now trying to mine this cloud of information to increase patient care and improve patient outcomes. From InformaionWeek:

One of the early market leaders is PatientsLikeMe, which offers an online data-sharing platform for patients with “life-changing” illnesses. About 80,000 people participate in 11 disease communities, including ALS, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and other mood disorders, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, organ transplants, and Parkinson’s.

Obviously, online health forums aren’t new, people have been discussing their illnesses, symptoms and medical conditions since the days of dial-up.  What is new is the ability to track and analyze the information in the interest of patient care.

The future may be even more exciting.  It’s possible to imagine a world where we can track the spread of the flu by patients just posting when and what symptoms they have.  Or your doctor’s office using an electronic health record that uploads medications and side effects automatically.  This information can be quickly analyzed and can alert doctors to changes they may otherwise have missed.

We’re still in the infancy of social media with respect to health care, but the possibilities are endless.

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Examples of Social Media Use in Nursing Education

Examples of Social Media Use in Nursing Education | Social Media and Healthcare |

Blogging, Twitter®, Facebook®, and LinkedIn® are common and logical places to begin social media integration into nursing curriculum. The NLN highlights three core content areas for nursing informatics courses: computer literacy, information literacy, and informatics (NLN, n.d.). Other key areas of curricular emphasis through the use of social media include professional communication; health policy; patient privacy and ethics; and writing competencies. Several varied examples of social media in nursing curricula follow to illustrate some typical applications. 

Informatics Courses

The design of one undergraduate informatics course incorporated the three NLN nursing informatics core areas by using social media. To that end, students in this course were required to:

  • submit no paperwork in a Microsoft Word® document or physical paper format

  • create a blog in which they wrote professionally on certain topics; create a sound webliography on a healthcare topic; and keep a course journal

  • create a Twitter® account with a specified number of legitimate healthcare and nursing followers; a specific number of substantial interactions with others; and attendance and participation in at least one online nursing or healthcare chat within this platform

  • use and explore other social media and Web 2.0 tools (e.g., SlideShare®, Slide Rocket®, Glogster®, Prezi®) to engage in collaboration on group projects and presentations. (Schmitt and Lilly, 2011)

The purpose of using social media tools to facilitate such integration was to emphasize professional communication; better improve student comprehension and use of technology beyond electronic medical records (EMR) and personal computer word processing programs; and enhance student networking and collaboration with other nurses globally.

Prior to engaging in these social media platforms all students completed Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) educational training and required reading in regard to privacy, ethics, and professional communication. Students wrote about and presented through these mediums on course content issues including nursing informatics, meaningful use, the IOM report on the future of nursing, evaluation of electronic health record systems, privacy, security, and patient use of the Internet and technology as a health resource. This particular class was further revised during the 2011–2012 academic year by nurse informaticist Kezia Lilly to include student creation of electronic portfolios, podcasts, Vokis®, multimedia presentations, and LinkedIn® profiles to assist students with networking and applying for further education or future employment. The following descriptions of e-portfolio, Twitter®, and Wikipedia® assignments provide more specific details about how the undergraduate and/or graduate level informatics courses incorporated social media tools.

E-portfolios. One assignment often used to assist students in professional communication and networking is the e-portfolio, which is assigned to undergraduates in the informatics course and carried through to their capstone course in the RN-to-BSN program. Students are instructed on how to create an e-portfolio through Google, also known as a Googlio®. A tutorial for beginning Googlio accounts is provided (Googlios, n.d.) and several articles on e-portfolio reading are provided. Students are instructed to load specific assignments; a professional resume and photo; mission statement; and any other professional items that display involvement, community work, and knowledge. Private information is excluded, but students are encouraged to provide a contact e-mail for prospective viewers who may have interest in their work. Students add to this e-portfolio (e.g., major assignments, attendance at conferences) throughout each course. Students are free to explore other mediums for creation of their e-portfolio, such as Wordpress® and Blogger®. In our experience, the creation of e-portfolios through Google® has been particularly helpful and has allowed students to track evidence of their RN-to-BSN program learning in one centralized area. The e-portfolios are used by students after program completion as a way to easily display professional nursing and specialty knowledge to employers.

Twitter®. Another required activity in the undergraduate informatics course helps students to better understand why people engage in social media; how people seek health information there; and how social media can be used as a networking and information gathering tool. Undergraduate students participate in a "Twitter®" assignment and are required to do the following:

  • create a Twitter® account at the beginning of the course

  • learn how to use a secondary platform to manage the Twitter® account such as Tweetdeck® or Hootsuite®

  • begin following at least 60 legitimate nursing and health care Twitter® resources

  • have 40 legitimate followers in nursing and health care to their account by the end of the course

  • engage in a set number of substantial of microblog updates which must be related to current information in healthcare but follow all privacy guidelines

  • demonstrate the use and understanding of hashtags

  • engage in at least one health care related 'chat' during the duration of the course.

Assignments are graded based on a rubric and each student shares their account with faculty and others in the course. Faculty also use the course number as a hashtag and hold weekly class "chats" to discuss current topics in nursing and course information or issues.

Wikipedia® . An activity within graduate informatics courses required students to write Wikipedia® articles on topics related to health and/or informatics (Booth, Stern, & Tkac, 2012). Students were requested to search Wikipedia® for articles or subjects that were either poorly written or missing from the encyclopedia. Working in small groups, students presented and verbally defended the importance of their proposed Wikipedia® topic/article to the course instructor. Upon ratification by the instructor, students either generated a new article for Wikipedia® or updated an existing article into a scholarly, lay-language, encyclopedia entry. Very quickly, a number of students found their additions challenged by Wikipedia® editors or modified by other users of Wikipedia®, teaching them the importance of accuracy and the peer review process. In one case, students had to defend and justify the uniquenessof their article, as it had been flagged for merger with another topic of similar underpinning. The Wikipedia® criteria for a good article [Available:] were operationalized into a rubric for the students, and their updates/revisions were graded accordingly. …students demonstrated comprehension of privacy, health care policy issues, ethics, and an improvement in both professional writing and engagement. Overall, students commented that they were impressed with the rapidity with which information was shared, critiqued, and modified on Wikipedia®. Similarly, most students reflected that they felt attached to their newly revised or created articles, leading a few to state they planned to follow and update their pages beyond the duration of the course.

Through these activities, students demonstrated comprehension of privacy, health care policy issues, ethics, and an improvement in both professional writing and engagement. Integration of technology throughout this course helped students demonstrate attainment of TIGER competencies along with achieving better understanding of computer science, library science, information management, and professional conduct in online environments. Qualitative and quantitative responses from students in course evaluations showed initial trepidation but ended with enthusiasm for the many new skills and understandings they had gained.

Graduate Nurse Educator Programs

To actively engage and prepare graduate nurse educator students, we developed a graduate course, Technology for Healthcare Education (Sims-Giddens, 2011). This course prepares future faculty to assess the variety of generations and learning styles in classrooms and to go beyond PowerPoint presentations. By exploring strategies to utilize technology and digitally enhance course content, nurse educator graduate students learn the significance and process of incorporating social media (e.g., class social media sites), YouTube productions, and podcasts.

Graduate students are encouraged to pilot social media strategies in practicum courses. One graduate student incorporated a private blog in place of a reflective journal so undergraduate nursing students could share successful clinical experiences or procedures with peers, as well as express any frustrations encountered. Another student incorporated a class wiki for undergraduates to complete a group assignment, providing them opportunity to learn the importance of teamwork and group dynamics.

Before learning to use technology for a classroom application, many graduate students used Facebook® to connect with friends and family but had not explored other social networking sites nor considered use of social media in graduate education. Brainstorming sessions allowed students to identify new applications to actively engage undergraduates in the classroom. Students became excited thinking of faculty research and collaborative opportunities within and across nursing programs, as well as across colleges and universities.

Using Social Media beyond Informatics Courses

A different approach was to embed the use of social media technologies alongside traditional teaching methods in a senior-level nursing theory course. The author screen-recorded and narrated animated Prezi® slideshows of both clinical and professional situations. The videos were then subsequently uploaded to the author's personal Vimeo® account and the link shared through the university's learning management system. Discussion of the video narrative and preparatory readings for the class were completed online and further extended during the face-to-face element of the class. Overall, students found the teaching approach to be engaging. This approach allowed for a more complex situation to be presented, given the audiovisual nature of the case scenarios.

Another collaborative application was piloted between nursing programs in America, Finland, and the Philippines. Faculty established a private wiki and students in community health classes were invited to participate in a global health perspectives assignment. Students introduced themselves by creating personal, narrated Power Point presentations; wrote and shared essays about health promotion and prevention and the relationship between health and the environment; and developed Power Point presentations about health care delivery systems and community health services in their countries. This exchange encountered challenges, such as faculty time to develop the collaborative group and how best to include and evaluate the assignments for a particular course. The logistics of university calendars and time zone delays presented scheduling problems. Benefits of the collaborative assignment included student exposure to international cultures and health care delivery systems, and trying new technology (Finnish students narrated using Power Point for the first time). Student comments from this exchange were very positive and encouraged faculty to continue the collaborative effort. Faculty learned about educational and curricular differences, and negotiated assignments and evaluation so the learning experience would benefit students. This virtual collaborative was an exciting adventure, one that will be discussed, refined, and repeated.

Alexandra Jimenez's curator insight, June 29, 2015 1:19 AM

Una forma de aprendizaje colaborativo a través del uso de redes sociales. Twitter, Wikipedia....

Erin Abrahamsen's curator insight, October 7, 2016 11:47 AM

This is a good orientation or starting place to try out informal learning with existing nursing courses.  Published by the National League of Nursing.


Ashlee Stevenson's curator insight, March 31, 2018 8:27 AM
Very interesting to see how many different educational fields are using social media.
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The physician will text you now: Follow ups from the doctor in your mobile phone

The physician will text you now: Follow ups from the doctor in your mobile phone | Social Media and Healthcare |

The doctor will text you now. Social media has finally developed a post-emergency room (ER) follow-up that works. Diabetic patients treated in the emergency department who were enrolled in a program in which they received automated daily text messages improved their level of control over their diabetes and their medication adherence, according to a study published online today in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. You can check out the study or its abstract, "Trial to Examine Test Message Based mHealth in Emergency Department Patients with Diabetes (TExT-MED): A Randomized Controlled Trial."

In the past decade, many doctors also have used email to send the results of physical exams and blood tests to patients by posting the results on a website that can be accessed only by patient and doctor. Now, social media and mobile phones are so widespread in the population, that doctors are texting patients for their follow ups that follow them up for six months.

Doctors can use social media to remind patients to be more self-sufficient when it comes to taking responsibility to be healthier instead of thinking, "I'll let the doctor take care of my problem." Or like the TV advertisement for certain drugs said, "I'll do my job and let my doctor do his." When the doctors text patients for six months, it keeps patients reminded of how to manage their health better, or at least reminds them of what they're supposed to do when managing a health problem such as type 2 diabetes.

"Our results were especially pronounced for Latinos, who are twice as likely as non-Latinos to develop diabetes," explains the lead study author Sanjay Arora, MD, of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, according to the November 11, 2013 news release, The doctor will text you now: Post-ER follow-up that works. "These patients, when followed up by text messages for 6 months, improved enough to reduce their dependence on the emergency department for care of their diabetes. Text messaging is effective, low-cost and widely available for our patients who often have no other source of medical care."

Patients received text messages for half a year

Adult patients with poorly controlled diabetes who visited an urban, public emergency department for care received two daily text messages for 6 months. For patients who received the text messages, blood glucose levels decreased by 1.05 percent and self-reported medication adherence improved from 4.5 to 5.4 (on an eight-point scale). Effects were even larger among Spanish speakers for both medication adherence and blood glucose levels.

The proportion of patients who visited the emergency department was lower in the text messaging group (35.9 percent) than in the control group (51.6 percent). Almost all (93.6 percent) patients enrolled in the program reported enjoying it and 100 percent reported that they would recommend it to family and friends.

The text messaging program is called TExT-MED

The text messaging program, called TExT-MED, included daily motivational messages such as "Having diabetes can lead to a heart attack or stroke – but it doesn't have to" and "Eat more fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains and less salt and fat." In addition, it provided three medication reminders per week, two healthy living challenges per week and two trivia questions per week, designed to build diabetes awareness (sample: "Trivia" Eating too much sugar and other sweet foods is a cause of diabetes. A. True. B. False.").

"Diabetes is emerging as a public health epidemic, particularly in low-income, underserved inner city and minority populations who depend on safety-net systems for medical care," says Dr Arora in the news release, The doctor will text you now: Post-ER follow-up that works. "Our goal is to transition our patients from crisis management to long-term diabetes management. In the absence of other health care options, reaching our patients by text message makes us partners in handling their disease and improves their quality of life."

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Facebook Etiquette Rules for Doctors' Websites

Facebook Etiquette Rules for Doctors' Websites | Social Media and Healthcare |

For some doctors social media is very new. If you’ve never experienced Facebook with a personal page before it may be difficult to navigate a business page without that point of reference. Even if Facebook doesn’t interest you in the private realm, it is a necessary part of any doctor’s online presence.

The name of the game is engagement, but there are a set of rules that businesses and practice must adhere to, even if unspoken.

Here are some quick and easy tips to keep in mind when expanding your social media presence.

  • Be Relevant: patients will view, and like your Facebook page for information—and while all your posts don’t need to be “strictly business,” try to your limit fuzzy kitten meme shares. Instead share information related to your practice and industry. Specials, tips, even jokes relevant to your audience will reinforce your position as an authority.
  • Be Engaging: Communicate with your followers. Even if you choose not to respond to each individually, if there is an overwhelming sentiment among your network, address it.
  • Be Professional: If you’d like to voice personal opinions create a personal page. Your practice’s page is no place to air personal gripes, carry on political or religious debates or call out competitors.
  • Be Present: Creating a page and never looking back doesn’t help your brand, and can actually hurt it. Create a schedule and post interesting content at least once a week. Many will consider your Facebook page an extension of your practice—you wouldn’t ignore a patient for weeks on end…

A Doctor learns how to use Facebook to his advantage

Now that you’ve created a Facebook business page and you know what to do, here are a few things not to do. Just like in life, a bad online reputation can follow you, and possibly hurt your brand.

  • Don’t Over Post: While it is important to be present, there is a limit. Posting once an hour will dilute your followers’ interest, and eventually the attempt to be engaging and present will relegate you to blocked status.
  • Don’t Be a Salesperson: Even though a Facebook business page is there to reach out to existing and potential patients, don’t think of your status updates as ads. If everything you post is a thinly veiled sales pitch your followers will quickly diminish.
  • Don’t Be a Mass Messenger: If you’d like to reach a large part of your fan base do it via status updates, or create a group and invite those specific people. Mass messaging means every response will be sent to every person on the message—which becomes incredibly annoying very quickly.
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Putting Social Media to Work: Channels That Deliver

Putting Social Media to Work: Channels That Deliver | Social Media and Healthcare |

So many social media channels, so little time! Not only can the sheer number of options be overwhelming, but there are also plenty of pitfalls and rewards to consider. You want to respect privacy, avoid making inadvertent factual or grammatical errors (that become public), and of course reach the right audience. What to do? Where to go? Which channel is easier, faster, safer…better?

Here, I’ve compiled a list the social media channels I use and what benefits they bring me. Obviously, this represents my own, personal opinion, and reflects my individual experiences as a healthcare marketing manager. However, perhaps for some of you they can represent a launching point, help inform a decision, or – best of all – spark some discussion and note-comparing.

Twitter, Hootsuite, Vine, and Storify
Twitter is great for short bursts of information, and Vine – Twitter’s proprietary app for sharing photos and videos – has been a helpful recent addition (on that note, here’s an interesting post about a hospital using Vine in the OR for educational purposes). In all cases, hashtags can really help your tweets get the attention you want. You can see some great health ones here on symplur.

Twitter’s 140 character length limit means I try to shorten URLs when I can. For that – unless I’m tweeting from a site that has a ‘tweet this’ button – I usually use Hootsuite, which also helps me organize my content flow a bit better. Hootsuite is particularly well-constructed for following healthcare tweetchats and for live-tweeting at conventions, offering user-friendly message streams, and ways to search hashtags and twitter handles. The service also provides another convenience: It lets you have several Twitter accounts right on the same page (your practice and your personal one, for example). This can be a great time-saver, but a word of caution – use the correct account for the appropriate tweet.

 Storify is a great way of stringing tweets together to make a longer point or narrative. As such, it can be used for tweetchats or for summarizing a discussion or lecture at a health conference where a lot of people are live tweeting. Simply pull the tweets you want from a particular hashtag stream onto the app (an easy tutorial shows you how) and supplement with text, photos, links, and whatever else you want to create a story from the tweets. Then you can post the story, and all the people whose tweets you used to tell the story will be notified. Here’s an example of a Storify post taking from the #HIMSS12 Twitter stream: HIMSS12 Storified.

Facebook is the most social of the social channels, and I find it to be an excellent gathering place for casual conversation and engagement, especially about wellness news. I think the Cleveland Clinic uses Facebook really well for their Health Hub page.

Be careful of photos you post on Facebook, though. When I am at a convention or an event, I love to post pictures, especially if it is a group gathering. But make sure you have everyone’s OK with being on Facebook. Many people don’t want to have their photos shared on the Internet at all, so always ask.

I won’t go into the privacy concerns about healthcare professionals posting on Facebook, as there are innumerable articles written on that topic already. I think the best thing to do for anyone (and that includes me) is to keep your personal FB page personal and your business FB page business.

Pinterest is mainly a scrapbook; you just “pin” an article or post to your Pinterest page (note that there must be a photo on the page for the post to look like anything). I use Pinterest to post infographics, photos, and images of interesting gadgets. Nutrition and fitness content does well here, I’ve found. Also, keep in mind that it is currently visited mainly by a female audience, so it can be a great place for information relating to women’s health. Overall, Pinterest is a visual journey. You can browse through the site to see exactly what I mean.

It’s been said before, if Facebook is the casual healthcare venue, LinkedIn is the office (complete with job search features). I see it as the most “serious” of the social sites. Create a profile on LinkedIn and, these days, it often becomes your resume. On the site, you can network with any number of people, join groups with special interests, and participate in discussions with other members. Within these groups, posts and comments are moderated, and participants typically need permission to join. LinkedIn represents a great networking opportunity and is wonderful for researching companies and individuals, reaching out, and “getting to know people” virtually. My company, HealthWorks Collective, has just started a LinkedIn HealthWorks Collective Group - check it out and please join if you are interested.

Google+ has good features for posting articles and photos, and it also offers the G+ “Hangout,” a live video streaming feature where a group of participants can get together to discuss a topic, brainstorm, or conduct a meeting. Later, users can upload a hangout to YouTube and post it and share it. Here’s a hangout on Google Glass that was uploaded to YouTube and then put in a post: Google Glass in Surgery.

G+ started out with a smaller, more tech-centric audience but it is more mainstream now and is very easy to use, with large numbers of communities available to browse or easily join (unlike LinkedIn, moderator approval isn’t necessary). I post a lot on G+, basing my choice for which health community to share through mostly on the topic I’m sharing information about.

Skype and YouTube
Video is a great way to vary the delivery of your message. A video embedded in a post gives your audience the option of watching, reading, or both. I tend to rely on Skype for video interviews of health start-up CEOs, doctors, and other thought leaders. The process is easy: Skype offers a built-in recorder, and users can then edit the result in iMovie and upload to YouTube. The quality is not the best, but it is easy and the only costs is the price of downloading the Skype recorder, which is nominal.

If you choose to make your YouTube video “public,” it can be seen by anyone, and can be embedded in a post easily. Here is a sample of a Skype interview edited in iMovie, uploaded to YouTube, and then embedded in a post: Acquapura. is a news board of posts and articles written on a variety of topics. Here, you can choose a topic to curate, and can then “publish” related posts on your own board. I use primarily as a fast and easy way to monitor and share what’s happening in healthcare around the web. Always check the dates on the news articles; I have come across some rather dated posts on

There are many other social channels, certainly, but I have found the above to be the most useful for me. Try them out, see how you like them!

Nicolas Jacquet's curator insight, November 15, 2013 8:48 AM

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