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October 26, 2012 / achanguris

Mayo Clinic Healthcare Social Media Summit – Day One Brain Dump

Originally composed the evening of October 17, 2012.

For the sake of my sanity, I’ve started sifting through my notes from day one of the 4th Annual Healthcare Social Media Summit. Here’s a brief run-down of the highlights.

I’ve decided there are two large bundles of information to consider (and digest): things I already knew I wanted to do (“in my spare time”) and will make a concerted effort to accomplish and brand-spanking new ideas.

In the first category, I have notes like:

  • Add “Pin it” option to the hospital blog
    (Even if I’m still not sure Pinterest users will really want to see items related to healthcare mixed in with recipes and crafts, it isn’t a bad option to offer.)
  • “Claim” our place on the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Hospital List
    (I want to add a pretty picture and make sure all of our links are up to date. This is a great resource for tracking down hospital social media accounts.)
  • Establish Facebook groups for patients in similar situations
    (Some will be open, others closed, depending on the subject matter. People who are going through a health issue want to know they’re not alone and groups like these meet them where they already are – Facebook.)
    One sage word of caution: hosting groups on Facebook means you have to play by their ever-changing rules. If the groups grow or at least catch on, it may be worth considering moving the hosting to our own website.
  • Add a notification to Foursquare so people who check in are reminded to get a flu shot.

In the second, I’ve jotted these notes:

  • Look at WELLAHO, a closed group where – with a patient’s permission – physicians can upload patient chart information and the patient can track treatments, when they’ve taken medication, etc. The physician has access to this data and patients can invite loved ones to view the information as well.
  • Look at FeverBee for tips on community management.
  • Check out how Mayo Clinic is accepting and posting patient stories right through their Facebook page (complete with a HIPAA waiver).
  • Find out if any images from your website have been pinned on Pinterest by using this link:

Not a bad to-do list. Now it’s time to get to work.

One of the most fascinating sessions of the day was a panel discussion on crisis management and the inclusion of social media. At work, we have plenty of plans for a wide range of crises. I have the game plan down pat; I know where to report and my primary responsibilities. I’m also ready to tweet my little fingers off in an emergency situation (I’ve done it before, letting people know about flooded roads in the area or confirming everyone was okay and the hospital was structurally sound after the East Coast earthquake of 2011). If I need to reach key leaders in the hospital (legal, administration, security, etc.) I have a contact card in my wallet with at least two or three ways to contact each one.

Indiana University Health Web and Social Media Analyst Joanna Woerner made an excellent point while discussing her hospital’s response in the wake of a deadly stage collapse at the state fair. A staff psychologist volunteered his time to reach out to members of the community wrestling with survivor’s guilt or other varieties of mental trauma after the incident. Many of those community members were posting to the hospital’s social media sites about their experiences, and this physician coached members of the social media team on when they should engage and when they should hand the comment off to a crisis counselor.

But what if it isn’t a natural disaster?

Brycie Jones, Social Media Manager for Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), shared a story about a male pediatric nurse who was arrested on suspicion of trafficking in child pornography. The nurse was placed on unpaid leave immediately, and then the hospital got a team together to start working through the communication process.

One major challenge: Homeland Security needed to be the first to release news of the arrest. The hospital didn’t want employees finding out through the media, so they sent an email to all employees to fill them in – before the Homeland Security release went out. Of course, it took one employee forwarding that email to the media and it was public. Jones’ team had to regroup and get Homeland Security’s permission to discuss the matter through social media and their own press release ahead of the agreed-upon schedule – I can only imagine how tense that phone call was.

Jones said the hospital fared well through a challenging time in part because they focused on getting accurate information out as quickly as possible. They set up a web page for frequently asked questions, updating it as questions came in and referring the public and the media there for definitive answers. After the fact, Jones was able to go back and track the internet traffic and noted that social media was the biggest driver to the site.

My take away from this discussion? We practice fire drills, helicopter landings and mass inoculations; it’s probably a good idea to practice gathering the right people to respond quickly to a crisis (of any variety) and using social media as the first communication channel.

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