Where Have We Come in a Year? Social Media and Its Impact on the Healthcare Industry

Last year I had the privilege of chairing and keynoting the Healthcare New Media Marketing Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. I enjoyed the event because the attendees were practitioners from the provider space (many hospitals, health systems, etc). This year I was invited back to the 2nd Annual Conference, which is being held in Chicago next Monday and Tuesday, to talk on the topic of “Where Have We Come in a Year? Social Media and Its Impact on the Healthcare Industry”. Given his experience in the area and their specialty in the field, I invited Joel Selzer of Ozmosis to join me in this “State of the Industry” address next Monday morning at 09:00 AM Central Time. The nice folks at Q1 Productions will be broadcasting it live on UStream.

Here’s the abstract of the presentation (courtesy of Joel):

Today, 650 hospitals now have an active presence on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and numerous healthcare organizations have turned the corner to engage in conversations online. For example, health systems such as Henry Ford have begun to broadcast surgeries and answer clinical questions live via Twitter, new communities like WiserTogether have made it easier for patients to share novel practices around specific conditions such as pregnancy, and services such as iGuard have changed the way we think about drug safety. The FDA’s public hearings in November also gave hope that the cloud of regulatory uncertainty would soon be lifted and the Dose of Digital Wiki now lists hundreds of active pharmaceutical social media programs. This session will look back on the impact social media has made across the patient and provider landscape, examining specific examples over the past year, and offer a compelling vision of what the future may hold.

I hope you’ll be able to join us at the conference itself or remotely via webcast.

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8 thoughts on “Where Have We Come in a Year? Social Media and Its Impact on the Healthcare Industry

    1. Thanks, John. Yes — it's a great conference. One of the reasons EMR wasn't specifically brought up is that it's social media marketing conference (as opposed to general usage). I agree with you that the “Social EMR” (something I've talked about a few times on my blog and phrase I coined a little while ago) is going to be on the rise but not until the government is done tampering and the RECs haven't totally destroyed the EMR innovation marketplace. The Facebook PHR article was very good, by the way, lots of think about. I'm not a big facebook fan due to their privacy policy issues but once they settle down and listen to their users I think we'll be fine.

      1. I think Facebook PHR is completely doable, in light of even the current Facebook privacy policies… At their recent F8 conference, Facebook introduced the open graph platform personalizing the Facebook experience at http://www.facebook.com and throughout various sites on the Web.

        As you both know, the Internet was traditionally a public forum and because of that, I think there is a large scale misconception on what is viewable to one's own page and what is viewable to others… because the experience is so personal.

        I think the idea of PHR/EHRs on Facebook will only assist in personalizing the experience more, allowing information to be shared much more efficiently. (Esp. between orgs. and patients).

        John, do you have a vision of how PHRs and Facebook would interact? Shahid, same question for you??

        1. Good comments. Ideally, Erica, the PHR would interact via FaceBook by autoposting private messages and a personal wall for health reminders, allow users to enter health content, be able to forward certain data to their physicians who are also on Facebook and of course be allowed to converse with the physicians and hospitals that they allow access to. All these things are possible in other PHRs but via Facebook it might be more convenient — of course, the privacy implications and how accidental exposures could occur remain concerns due to Facebook's history and recent snafus.

  1. I have been searching for more individuals and organizations from healthcare payers (typically health plans, PPOs and third party administrators (TPAs) joining the social networking conversation. At this point, their participation is somewhat nascent. That might speak to the collective conservatism of the health insurance and PPO industry in general. By opening that channel, it opens a channel to criticism. Slowly, some payers are dipping their toes. But when it comes to exposing itself, the healthcare payer industry will lag far behind other industries in terms of engaging with social media, and likely in a very controlled manner.

    1. I think the Payer community is not lagging as far as you might think — they, like most healthcare institutions, do not participate in social media or anything else that's new until and unless the risks are shown to be low and the value is shown to be high. They are definitely not accustomed to R&D like we are in tech so just experimenting or trying things out are not what they do. They work off plans and strategy — at this time social media hasn't proven its worth in healthcare for Payers so they're reluctant. If they could make money off it and keep their risk low they'd do it in a hearbeat. 🙂

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