Twitter is only for people telling what they’re doing right now, like “what they eat for breakfast”. Right?
Twitter is a kind of web based Short Message Service, which is largely for ego-trippers sharing the -largely uninteresting- private parts of their life, isn’t it?
YouTube is mostly for teens and twenties enjoying music videos. And similarly Facebook and (in Holland Hyves) are just a hype. O.k.?
And blogging, ha, blogging…. Doctors shouldn’t blog, because of privacy issues and because it is a waste of time. Doctors don’t even have time for it, nor should they have… Yes?!
Social media are useless and perhaps even “dangerous” (distracting staff, viruses, wrong info, privacy concerns) and hospitals should keep them behind their firewalls!!
Wrong. At least that is what many US hospitals are thinking. More and more they are embracing social media. Why? To connect, to interact, to disseminate new research, to share in-depth medical information and to gather communities of employees, patients and their families.
Examples: see this blogpost on hospitals and social media by Tony Chen.
And it seems that patients are influenced by it.
For instance, a recent announcement on marketingcharts, states that:
Of the US Hospitals Mayo Clinic gives a good example of how new social media technologies can be implemented. They use many different web 2.0 tools, like YouTube videos, Slideshare, Facebook. On “Sharing Mayo Clinic. A blog with stories from families, friends, patients and Mayo Clinic Staff” they sum up 10 ways you can use Mayo clinics social media tools.
One tool they use is Twitter (@mayoclinic). First they protected their updates on Twitter, didn’t follow their followers back. Twitter was mainly used for “branding”, but later they realized that this didn’t work and that “they needed more than an audience”. By interacting with their followers they got more response. They also reached more people, because interesting tweets were retweeted by their followers. So even people that don’t follow @mayoclinic (but are followers of its followers) are alerted to the news. It is also an important virtual mouth-to-mouth-tool for new patients.
More than Facebook, Twitter enables you “to connect with people you don’t know but share the same interest with. It is for the friends you don’t know yet”
Mayo Clinic actively supports its staff and its patients to use the social media tools.
Last night Mayo Clinic organized a Tweetcamp (Tweetcamp II) for medical use on Twitter. According the announcement on their blog their aim was:
(…) to provide training for Mayo Clinic staff — and for others outside Mayo via Web cast, in how to use Twitter productively in health care. The course also will explore innovative applications for Twitter in health care, including upcoming examples such as Dr. Victor Montori’s April 27 Twitter discussion of his recent research paper on diabetes treatment, and Mayo Clinic’s National Symposium on Medical and Health Care Education Reform.
People from outside Mayo Clinic will be able to participated via the Web cast and Twitter, by following the #tweetcamp2 hashtag.
(#tweetcamp2 can still be followed to see what people following the webcast were -and are- tweeting about #tweetcamp 2)
Other Tips on how doctors (should) use Twitter can for instance be found on this blogpost of Michael Lara MD.
Phil Baumann even made a list of 140 Health Care Uses for Twitter.
Below are the powerpoint presentation and one of the video’s they shared. It is really an useful beginners guide for everyone.
Want to know what has been said: see the first live video of the event:
More #Tweetcamp2 video’s can be found here.
All Mayoclinic You Tube videos can be found here
One question on Twitter was if one could see the Mayo Clinic guidelines of Twitter usage. They are for instance on the Blog of Ed Bennett (see this link).
And while you are visiting Ed Bennett’s blog you might as well go to his “Hospital Social Network List” which shows the U.S. Hospitals that use Social Networking tools. In summary:
- 240 Hospitals total
- 129 YouTube Channels
- 88 Facebook pages
- 155 Twitter Accounts
- 23 Blogs
But what about the rest of the world. Europe for instance?
A list is in the making. Lucien Engelen of Zorg 2.0 took the initiative to make a similar list for Europe (see Dutch post here), starting with the Netherlands. For this he created the site: hospitalseu.
The first preliminary list of Dutch hospitals officially using social media has now been compiled by Lucien et al. It should be stressed that the list is based on what is known, but needs to be confirmed the hospitals (a mailing is being send). See blogpost on Zorg 2.0 (Dutch) and this pdf with preliminary data.
There is reason to believe that the results will not be essentially different.
Indeed, I don’t know of any initiatives of our hospital to use social media (Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam)
Thus looking at the enormous differences between the USA and the Netherlands one wonders:
Europe (the Netherlands) isn’t it about time that you join?
At least get acquainted with Social Media and Web 2.o!
Look what others are doing and see what is in it for you, your staff ànd your patients!
You may not (want to) do it, but your patient will do it anyway.
By the way, 5 days ago I personally experienced that Mayo Clinic is really interactive. I followed one of their links in their tweets to find that I could not access the news item they referred to, because it was password protected. I tweeted about it -just in general-. Mayoclinic immediately picked this message up (because they have a search for “mayoclinic” on Twitter). But more importantly they immediately responded in a pleasant way ànd immediately took care of it. This illustrates that they are not only “interactive” in words but also in deeds: they really “listen” and “respond” to their Twitter followers. Many individuals on Twitter don’t even bother.
(read the tweets from down up)