Health Is Social

Infusing Social Media into Healthcare

“Twitter is God’s gift to communicators” according to Mark Ragan at this years Healthcare Marketing and PR Social Media Summit at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville Florida.

I spoke at the summit on Tuesday (3/15), going over what 21st Century communications looks like; what the new healthcare provider will look like in the coming years; why Healthcare must invest in a thorough understanding of technologies impacts and places in the industry; why the tools of social media aren’t nearly as challenging as understanding what drives behavior; and briefly went over how RNchat and MDchat started and what they’ve accomplished to date.

Here’s a transcript of the tweets of March 14 and 15 and as you can see the attribution to Mark’s belief in Twitter’s power in helping communicators:

MayoRagan Healthcare Marketing and PR Social Media Summit 2011 Tweets

[link to transcript]

Is Twitter God’s gift to communicators? I don’t know – but it’s a sharp point about the need for communicators in healthcare, and elsewhere, to fully understand the nature of today’s media, their potential and their proper roles.

Has Healthcare been slow to adopt these media? Yes.

Does Healthcare need to learn how to use them? Yes.

That’s the easy part.

What’s the hard part? The hard part is knowing what drives behavior in a world where attention is fraying, people live on different platforms (online and off) and our understanding of the nuances of human behavior has a long way to go.

Twitter won’t accomplish that feat. But it is a nice little gift for us to seek, ask and find.

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter

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  • Phil, you’re right that looking at behavior is the name of the game. This is where health care needs to partner with those who specialize in behavioral health, psychologists in particular, who are trained in analyzing, tracking and predicting human behavior. Until a solid partnership between understanding the body and the brain, it will be a difficult process to make any gains in people’s overall health on a large scale.

    • Phil Baumann

      Hi Susan

      Exactly – it’s big task to gather up our understanding and assemble it into a working wisdom.

      The social media part is just a superficial feature of the larger party (as I like to put it).

      The one concern I have as we understand more about the behavioral processes in the online world is: just as organizations can figure out how to influence behavior for “good”, others can do so with darker intent.

      So, as I see things, the behavioral part underneath the “social media” layer is the really exciting stuff.