Health Is Social

Infusing Social Media into Healthcare

Here are a few of the exciting opportunities that are currently wide open for ambitious and talented applicants:

  • Clinical Research
  • Provider Collaboration
  • Curation of Evidence-Based Content
  • Patient Customer Service

CLINICAL RESEARCH

As more and more people tell their stories, converse with others and emit data about their lives, the pool of information pertinent to clinical research will continue to swell.

Developing ways of finding and organizing the data will provide enormous value to researchers, from seeking participants to monitoring the wild. I’m pretty sure that there a few enterprises willing to pay for these kinds of services.

PROVIDER COLLABORATION

In practice, physicians and nurses can’t spend their day on Twitter and Facebook and blogs and forums.

But: they do need productive and reliable ways of collaborating on cases; alerting each other to critical needs; monitoring patient data and progress; coordinating care; and sharing experiences and knowledge and wisdom.

Social media certainly provide possible to solutions to these problems. But Twitter and Facebook aren’t the right places to look.

iMedExchange offers a view of what’s possible.

New kinds of social media will need to be developed. For more on what this means, read Instant Is Not Real-Time.

CURATION OF EVIDENCE-BASED CONTENT

The amount of data and information on the Web is virtually infinite. Worse, the amount of bad data and information probably exceeds the good.

How to provide the best information at the right time? In a world where information speeds like lightening and attention spans are straining, it will become critical that platforms are developed which deliver the right information at the right time in the right context.

The future of content opportunities lies in curation. I’d argue that Curators will be among the new kings and queens of the Web. Opportunities for healthcare are out there for someone to fill.

PATIENT CUSTOMER SERVICE

Patients want connection and service and provider availability.

The continuum of care is vast. Competent healthcare doesn’t start in the ER. It starts at home.

Building platforms that enable patients and providers to connect in safe and mutually-agreeable ways is a huge gaping opportunity for developers.

Facebook and Twitter weren’t designed with healthcare in mind.

Currently, there’s all sorts of talk on how to use these media in provider-patient relations. But the possibilities are constrained by the designs of these platforms. Facebook for example is such an unstable and unpredictable platform, that providers are understandably nervous in incorporating them into their practice.

Not to mention, the issue of boundaries has yet to be worked out. New kinds of social platforms that take account of the healthcare ramifications of social relations from the start will go a long way toward getting buy-in from providers. Hello Health is a great start but there’s still opportunity for development.

THE UNAMIBTIOUS AND RESISTANT NEED NOT APPLY

Years ago when I started thinking about the possibilities of repurposing emerging media into health care, I met a lot of resistance from colleagues and hospital administrators. Back then, talking about healthcare and social media was a lonely business. #HCSM and #HCSMEU and #RNCHAT weren’t around.

I understood: very few people in healthcare even heard about Twitter or RSS or any of this other nonsense (I use that word affectionately). But I also could palpably feel a sense of resistance – in fact, in some case I was met with something along the lines of outright anger. Crazy, huh?

But now, it’s become obvious that we are becoming increasingly connected and these media are staples of contemporary communications.

There’s so much that we can do with Technology. But we also need Art. Art gives us fresh perspective and reminds us of what we’re capable of.

Just like Health, Creativity is Social.

It can also be financially rewarding. 🙂

@PhilBaumann

@HealthIsSocial

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  • Great post!
    In particular the last section, THE UNAMIBTIOUS AND RESISTANT NEED NOT APPLY, really resonated. We need to continue to reward those who ware doing the big thinking and moving these ideas forward.

    • Phil Baumann

      Hi Nick,

      Yes, we need to encourage providers to see the benefits of the right kinds of social networking to stimulate the demand and provide the incentives for developers to bring those products to market.

      Some of these activities can be done on the “free” public social media platforms, but ultimately, the more robust services need funding.

      Phil

  • Great insight on how data and social are shaping new job opportunities in healthcare, Phil! As an executive search firm for innovative healthcare and pharma agencies, we are finding our clients are defining their own roles to meet new needs in healthcare communications and market research. Great read. Thank you.

    Best,
    Angela Dunn
    Director of Social Media & Recruiting
    Odom Lewis

    • Phil Baumann

      Hi Angela

      I think a lot of organizations will discover their own ways of using these media – and then see if they have the in-house resources to meet those needs, or reach outside. It’ll be interesting to watch the next couple of years.

      Phil

  • Meaningful Post. We have been reading about Pharma/Healthcare using Social Media tools. But people of different skill-sets have not come together to collaborate to make it happen in the right way. That still remains as a challenge. This post gives a good insight of the areas where the opportunities exist in a big way. I am sure such ideas take Social Media to the next level towards meaningful collaboration and results. Kudos!!! Keep them coming.
    regards
    Varadh
    @varadhkrish

    • Phil Baumann

      Varadh

      Yes, bringing in people with diverse skills is definitely a need.

      We are starting to see more interest in other ways these media can be used.

      Cheers!

      Phil

  • What a thought provoking post. We need to upskill people that work in a mass of different areas and make sure that because health is linked to some late sm adopter industries that we don’t collectively get stuck in a chat-free void.

    Health is social and I wholeheartedly agree in your last point:+))

    PS promised I wouldn’t use the word engagement this week, agreement that I could use the word ‘chat’ instead though

    • Phil Baumann

      Hi Neil

      Yes, it really is a matter of just getting people in various fields web literate. Right now, the adoption curve is stretched out really far.

      PS – Definitely subscribe to Hugh MacLeod’s newsletter if you haven’t already.

      http://gapingvoid.com/newsletter/

      Phil

  • Phil,

    You envision the future. I’m working with a clinical research team to build a support community within the trial population. Will be interesting to see how it develops.

    • Phil Baumann

      Mark,

      Sounds exciting – give us an update as the project grows!!

      Phil

  • Christine Kraft

    Great post, great energy! Makes me want to work with you.

    • Phil Baumann

      I’m fun to work with. 🙂

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