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Engaging Healthcare Consumers using Social Media Tools

Posted Mar 03 2009 2:51pm

Last week I attended the World Congress Consumer Connectivity Summit and want to share a few take-aways with my readers.

  • In the Pyramid of Trust, healthcare is currently working to establish trust with customers.  Social media can help personalize information to address generational issues and the technology people prefer so it is more naturally absorbed.

  • There are many opportunities for Public Health to apply social media tools to their outreach, education and prevention campaigns.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) seems to be leading the way and should be commended for their ability to conceptualize the changing learning opportunities.  My favorite is their partnership with Whyville  to educate kids (and many grandpar ents) on seasonal flu and preventio n. 

  • Learning is social.  Acting on learning comes from context.  Context comes from the groups of like meaning or microcultures of meaning.

  • Engagement is key and built on relationships. (Amen!)

  • Hospitals and other providers need to be concerned about and prevent "domain squatting" by establishing their organization on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.  or at least check to see if someone else is already using your same name.

  • Hospital and employee newsletters with video "articles" is bigger and better than words on the paper.  Seeing makes a bigger impact.  Mayo Clinic is a leader in this area.

  • Keeping people healthy is local.  Social media can benefit those who already have a condition.

  • Scheduling appointments is taking over renewing medications for top use of online services at Kaiser.

  • Social media strategy -  add to and compliment what is already being offered.

  • Use of patient advisory committees to confirm intended message is what is being received.

  • Free iPhone applications include one developed by Community Health Network   for their patients and being shared now with all. is an electronic "pillbox" used to help patients or caregivers manage and keep track of medication schedules, especially when there are many.  CHN is now working on establishing a connection between and their PHR.

The ROI of Social Media Tools is the risk of ignoringInvest in keeping customers!

It was a stimulating two days of how we in healthcare can better engage and communicate with customers and consumers.  I' m glad I attended!


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