We got a lot of questions regarding the applicability of these principles and methods to different industries and specifically for hospitals and other health providers. As organizations with a strong social purpose and educational / outreach focus, how can they remake themselves and their services to provide innovative and effective web-based information and health?
We envision the Hospital as the center of regional health, building a community of patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals that work online and offline providing care, support and prevention.
It is an overall shift in strategy that transforms the organization to be more Open, Collaborative, Transparent, Interactive, and Social. Organizations that have successfully executed Web 2.0 initiatives: share data and information securely and seamlessly with their health care partners, provide platforms for patients, doctors, and hospitals to collaborate on improving the effectiveness of services and communications, foster community patient support networks, and empower patients to gain access to the best health care services and providers.
There have been some interesting efforts but most providers are just in the initial experimentation mode. Ed Bennett maintains a great list on his blog of all the hospitals and their social activities. According to his findings, Twitter has just become the most popular social media channel among hospitals
Paul Levy, Beth Israel Deaconess CEO has been a trail blazer in his blog, sharing thoughts, ideals, goals, results and experiences, promoting true transparency. The hospital has recently launched the first web 2.0 oriented site with a special section dedicated to interactive features such as blogs, videos, podcasts chat etc.
St. Jude Children Research Hospital has close to 35,000 fans in their facebook group and have extensive social media program on their site. Cedars Sinai in LA is using YouTube for staff recruitment purposes.
These are great examples for a few health providers that seem to have a cohesive strategy for this new interactive age. For most hospitals, just being on facebook or Twitter without setting measurable goals and defining a strategy will not yield the anticipated results.
The following diagram shows the different areas where hospitals can consider collaboration and use of social media and interactivity:
Some of the interesting opportunities we are seeing for hospitals:
- Use of social media and communities to create an active health community around their health facilities that will involve patients, physicians and hospitals
- Enhance educational activities to include online courses and support groups
- Use blogs and actual access to quality and performance data to promote transparency and trust with the community
- Use advanced web analytics to capture interests and trends and improve content and services accordingly
- Build a stronger relationship with Affiliated Health Professionals and allow them to collaborate and exchange knowledge
- Reduce the customer support functions by moving self service functions to the web