Hospitals on Twitter: Mayo Clinic and #Tweetcamp2

24 04 2009

twitterTwitter 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!!

Right?

Wrong!

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:

Social media has some type of influence on nearly 40% of recent hospital or urgent-care center patients, with more than half of 25-to-34 year olds reporting they are influenced by it. (hattip: @bart)

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.

stats-graph-eu-en-vs001

Preliminary data From: http://hospitalseu.wordpress.com/ (Hyves is the Dutch Facebook)

*************************************************************************

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)

mayoclinic-laikas

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6 responses

24 04 2009
Lee Aase

Thanks for this post and review, and for highlighting our Mayo Clinic resources. You are right that some of these tools have stereotyped perceptions associated, but the key is to look at their capabilities and how they can be adapted. They are very powerful, at least potentially. After all, they got us connected between the U.S. and Europe!

One minor point: we didn’t PROTECT our @mayoclinic updates at first; they have always been open. We just weren’t following others in the account. The protection we were seeking by setting up the account was to keep someone else from claiming the that username and using it. So to start we just used a news feed. But now we see much value in interacting.

24 04 2009
lucienengelen

Thank you for great post Jacqueline.
At this very moment Tom and Charlotte are working on Belgium and the UK. Mailing to Ducth hospitals is send. I reallly hope the response on this makes the score somehow better.
Keep you posted.

Gr Lucien

24 04 2009
Barbara K.

This is a fascinating post. I can only imagine how social media will change, and hopefully improve, the provider-patient connection over the next five years.

18 05 2009
Web 2.0 and Health Care Reform: Two Dutch Examples (1) « Laika’s MedLibLog

[…] (RSS) and to put information on the web (wiki’s) for patients or colleagues. There are hospitals that are actively engaged in social media and that facilitate patients to use these tools to gather information, but I’ve seldom seen a […]

19 05 2009
Proving you that online communities in health care really work!! « Fredzimny’s CCCCC Blog

[…] Hospitals on Twitter: Mayo Clinic and #Tweetcamp2 (laikaspoetnik.wordpress.com) […]

26 10 2011
Grand Rounds Vol 8 nr 5: Data, Information & Communication « Laika's MedLibLog

[…] started using social media for communication with patients well before all the recent hype and it organized tweetcamps back in 2009. David Harlow made the pilgrimage to Rochester, MN and spoke at the Mayo Clinic Center for Social […]

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