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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Hospitals and Social Media…Is that a good combination?

There seems to be social media tools for every industry under the sun. Is social media truly the next best thing next to sliced bread? Well of course, it depends on who you ask and whether or not their social media strategy has been successful or not.

The hospital industry has slowly moved into the social media realm. I know it is hard to believe that this industry that has so many privacy laws can be successful with social media. But there are some success stories out there.  

  • Using Twitter and Facebook for an OB practice to educate patients and encourage patient to patient interaction
  • Scripps used Twitter to turn angry patients into loyal ones
  • Children’s Medical Clinic in Dallas tweeted about a kidney transplant from father to son

Learn more about these and other success stories. http://www.launchyourmovement.com/2010/04/10-hospital-social-media-success-stories/

But what about garnering new patients? Can social media help hospitals do that? Well, according to an article entitled Patients pick Hospitals for their Social Media Presence stated that 57 percent of consumers said that a hospital’s social media connections strongly affect their decision to accept treatment at that particular location.

Would social media presence persuade you to choose a facility or doctor over another? 

While there are many success stories, there are also much risk. According to Social Media Usage by Staff Complicates Hospital Risk Managementmuch of the risk stems from doctors “friending” patients, doctors posting information about a patient and using Twitter to pass along information during surgery. I don’t know about you but I would be a little concerned about my doctor tweeting while he is supposed to be performing a surgical procedure.

There has been so much change within the social media world and hospitals are starting to catch on. Does this new trend mean that hospitals not engaged with the right social tool will lose ground and patients? Or will we see an increase in lawsuits and new laws being put into place to prevent too much information sharing online. We don’t know what the future may hold on these issues. Only time will tell.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Apps that are Every Parents Dream…

I don’t know too many parents of driving age teenagers that doesn’t worry about where they are going, who they are with and whether or not they are text and drive. Cell phone carriers have had to get more creative and meet the demands of their consumers and create apps that allow parental control! According to a report entitled Mobile Applications: Apps and the Internet World, “For 2016 the worldwide penetration rate of Mobile Internet will reach 34.7% – or 2.89 billion users …”

Mobile phone carriers have advanced by continually developing apps that allow users to do more – play games, deposit and transfer their bank funds. Carriers like T-Mobile have also put safety and security as a priority for their customers.

FamilyWhere(TM)- includes FamilyWhere Check-In and FamilyWhere Locate (for an additional charge): These services allow parents to know where their kids are by locating them using their mobile phone. Now what parent wouldn’t want to use this app every once and a while?

DriveSmart – restricts calls, texts and application use if their mobile phone is in a moving vehicle. What is nice about this app is that it will send an automated text message informing the sender that your message was read and you will respond when it is safe to do so. For the premium app, you can respond using voice activation.

Webguard is the mobile version of web monitoring. It allows for blockage of mature web content while on the T-Mobile Network. This program will allow you to set access based on your child’s age.

These are just a few of the mobile apps that provide for mobile safety. As mobile technology begins to become more popular, carriers are going to have to keep up with demands and continue to provide security measures that allow customers to feel safe and enjoy the convenience their mobile phones.

Knowing that these safety mechanisms are in place for when our children our on the road, makes the stress level much lower.

References:

T-Mobile Cell Phone Safety & Security. http://family.t-mobile.com/safety-and-security

Mobile Applications: Apps and the Mobile Internet. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/mobile-applications-apps-mobile-internet-112100686.html

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Is Health Care the Last to get on the Social Media Bus?

How would you feel if your family practitioner had a blog where you can stay up to date on the latest medical technologies? Would you join a hospital’s Facebook page or receive Tweets or text messages?

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Social Media and Health Care are not synonymous. However, with the ever-growing trends of social media usage and ongoing budget constraints, this industry has had to rethink their strategy.

According to iHealthBeat, social media has invaded the industry on three fronts: innovative start-ups, patient communities and medical centers. This new movement has allowed for the development of innovative tools like vertical search and social networks, to health content aggregators and wellness tools. Hospitals are now utilizing social media to increase brand loyalty and recruit new patients.

The medical community is naturally risk adverse so adopting new technologies like social media tend to bring up the red flag. As this new phenomenon continues to grow, the medical industry will need to find ways of community to new and current patients using mobile applications and social media.

This effort will not be without its challenges. As the head Marketing & PR at a Chicago area hospital, I am constantly having internal discussions about why we should get into the social media space. The answer can’t be because our competitors are doing it. The answer has to show ROI, have conversations with our patients and then, of course, our competition down the street is doing it.

What we do know is that you need to know your target market. Is your target market involved with social media? Most importantly who is the internal champion who will be responsible for monitoring?

If we can convert 1/10 of that 90% of physicians who are using the internet and have smart phones to believing that social media is not the devil, this industry would be further along than it is now. Maybe the Groundswell effort will need to happen and our patients will start demanding our presence. Do you think that will make this industry get on the social media bus?

References:

http://www.ihealthbeat.org/perspectives/2010/social-media-in-health-care-barriers-and-future-trends.aspx

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Social Media….Say what?!

If this were five years ago I would be thinking that I am not going to write a blog about social media tools. By the time I finish writing, this fad will be over. Well, that was five years ago. Today, I write this blog thinking about how much different social media is today and the variety of tools that are now available for those who want to venture in this world.

Many of us use these tools and probably don’t even realize that they are part of the social media revolution. Social media goes beyond our regulars – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It encompasses more than that. I am going to profile three tools that you may or may not use regularly and may not have realized that it is part of the social media.

Yelp (yelp.com)

Yes, Yelp! Looking to find out what other people think of a restaurant, doctor, clothing store, pet groomers, churches, etc. Yelp is a great way for consumers to rate their favorite (and not so favorite) service providers.  Yelp launched in October 2004. The site was original designed as an email recommendation program and grew into an online recommendation program. This site has more than 61 million unique users in more than 13 countries.

You can give a rating up to 5 stars and commentary to warn or promote a business that you have received services from. They even have a ratings filter to help protect businesses and consumers from inaccurate or fake reviews. What a great way to express your appreciation for your favorite business and warn people from that dreadful one!

Yahoo Instant Messaging (messenger.yahoo.com)

You probably don’t even remember when Yahoo Pager Launched in March 1998. I know I don’t! This service is provided free with a Yahoo ID. Today, this program that not many people utilize, is very helpful especially in an office setting. So much so, many businesses utilize instant messaging tools to help employees communicate quickly amongst themselves in and out of the office.

I must confess that I have IM’d my daughter when I was in the basement and she was in her room. It didn’t make sense to yell or call her or ever walk up three flights of stairs when I could see that she was “available to chat”. I have also used it to have conversations with my staff without picking up the phone, sending an email or walking to their office because I may have needed a quick piece of information.

I predict that more companies will allow staff to utilize one of the many IM tools to allow for faster communication. Employees need to remember, history on conversations can be saved.

Skype (skype.com)

Last summer, my family welcomed a student from France named Gladys. We were excited to show her all about Chicago and the U.S. We miss Gladys so we called her over Christmas break. No! Not on a landline. We “Skyped” her! It was so wonderful to see her and her family in almost real-time. Of course, visibility is subject to your internet speed but overall, it is a good program. You can video chat with anyone in the world as long as they have a computer, camera and internet access. And, more importantly, it is free. Even businesses are using Skype to communicate with remote staff. So what not try it?

Skype has 663 million users as of September 2011. It allows users to communicate with others by voice, video, and instant messaging over the Internet. Skype does offer premium services that you pay for but for basic one-on-one video chatting, it perfect and free. I haven’t “Skyped” my daughter in her bedroom yet. But I do use it when I am traveling for extensive lengths of time to check in and see my family’s faces. Skype is a great service that many don’t take advantage of yet. But I have a feeling, as more people expand their knowledge of the tools out there, the more these services will be used.

References:

Jackson, Nicholas. Infographic: The Incredible Six-Year History of Yelp Reviews. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/07/infographic-the-incredible-six-year-history-of-yelp-reviews/242072/

Skype. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skype

Yahoo! Messenger. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahoo!_Messenger

Yelp. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yelp,_Inc.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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