Top Ten Takeaways from the Mayo/Ragan Healthcare Social Media Summit.

Julia Mastropaolo 11/12/14 - 3:11 pm

1. Brand journalism was the conference buzzword. And the Mayo Clinic does it well with their Mayo Clinic News Network and “Brand Journalism Newsroom,” described as a “go to source for TV, radio, newspaper and blog journalists to download health, science and research information.” The groundbreaking advancements coming out of this amazing organization fuel the jobs of eight social media staffers within a Public Affairs Department of no less than 150.

2. Active social media docs are good for your hospital/health system, not bad. The health systems with the most docs actively using social media have 247% more followers. If you follow your docs, they are 32% more likely to follow you. Hospital systems that mention their docs have 447% more followers (MDigital Life). Hence, hospitals should support their docs who are tweeting, blogging and posting on Facebook as these docs will reciprocate by supporting and collaborating with their hospital’s social media program. Arm them with helpful items like social media guidelines, HIPAA education and even brand graphic assets like the hospital logo to include in their efforts.

3. Take appropriate steps to engage your active social media docs.

  • Set guidelines. Be transparent on what’s okay from a branding standpoint. Consult AHA or AMA for guidelines.
  • Search for your doctors online to understand their social media activity.
  • Subscribe to their content:  Follow on Twitter, subscribe to blogs/YouTube channel, audit their content.
  • Monitor and coach: Share your hospital’s content calendar and invite their contribution.
  • Ask them to share your content. Don’t be shy!
  • Remember that interconnectedness and mutually reinforcing messages create better results.

4. It’s all about the story. Whether it’s told through a blog, Facebook post or tweet, the fundamental rule of storytelling hasn’t changed. It’s what creates the emotional connection. The social media tools simply allow amplification of the story through content repurposing across all social platforms.

5. Confront HIPAA anxiety by befriending your legal department. When your BFF at work is the hospital lawyer, you can run all real or imagined HIPAA concerns past her so you can resume normal REM sleep. Disavow the notion that lawyers slow everything down. By proactively addressing things like negative reviews, maintaining privacy of PHI, maybe even investigating new hires via social media, they’ll actually speed up your job effectiveness. And help you avoid missing opportunities due to your past HIPAA phobia.

6. Social media guidelines are an absolute must for all hospitals venturing into social media. It’s also critical to hold educational sessions for content contributors to help control the message. The Mayo Clinic Social Media Champion Program is an example of successful encouragement of positive employee sharing. With 60,000 employees, that’s a lot of potential sharing.

7. Social media gives community and comfort to very sick patients. By allowing them to connect with like people in a nonstigmatized, safe manner, social media introduces community and advocacy and can actually save lives. Hospitals should consider offering options like online chats and Google hangouts for clinical specific disease states.

8. Content creation should be based upon your strategic objectives and include repurposed information.  Johns Hopkins Medicine uses a Social Media Playbook, including guidelines such as best practices, brand voice and metric insights. They’ve also instituted a Social Media Request Form which all content contributors must complete, outlining the goal, target audience and how the topic relates to a strategic priority.

9. Fun stats:

  •  The average hospital system has 18,590 Twitter followers. The Mayo Clinic has 1.8 million.
  •  The average health system has 58 affiliated tweeting docs.  The Mayo Clinic has 346.
  •  61% of doctors consult social media weekly for medical information.
  •  47% of health systems do not have official strategies for social content creation and management.

10. The Mayo Clinic has no beds. None. Nada. For me, this was the most astounding, if not befuddling, take-away of all. Rather, it is one huge lobby and 20 sprawling floors of outpatient clinics for I suppose anything imaginable that might ail you. The inpatient beds are in their two associated hospitals (one on campus and one 1.5 miles away), but not right there at the infamous Mayo Clinic. I learned that on my tour, which now makes absolute sense with the “clinic” name, but it was news to me.

The mission of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media is to lead the social media revolution in healthcare, contributing to the health and well-being for people everywhere. I felt it. How about you? Which of these takeaways can you most relate with?

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