Social Media in Health Care: More than Just Marketing

The Los Angeles Times had a nice article on social media in health care on Saturday, entitled “The doctor’s in, on Twitter.” I had participated in an interview some time ago, so was surprised when I got the Google alert linking to the article, which began…

Twitter. A popular online social network? Yes. A vital tool for medical research? Maybe.

“Until now, healthcare providers have primarily used online networks as a promotional tool,” says Lee Aase, director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. “We think they can be much more.”

I think it’s an important message to get across: that if we see social media primarily being about marketing we will miss some of the most important benefits. In fact, we created the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media and the Social Media Health Network to help encourage use of these tools throughout the health care system, in clinical practice, research and education as well as administration. So I was really glad to see something of this emphasis come through in the Times.

And personally, it’s kind of a kick to be the first person quoted. Not gonna lie. 😉

Read the whole article.


Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care: The Book

Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care is the title I’ve used for many of my presentations over the last few years. Now, it’s a book, thanks to the contributions of 30 good friends who are members of our Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Advisory BoardSocial Media Health Network and our Mayo Clinic staff. See the Mayo Clinic news release and the blog post announcing the book for more information.

I listed the contributing authors in a post on our Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media site, but I want to particularly recognize Meredith Gould for her contributions. She wrote a couple of the essays, but her editing and publishing experience was essential. And she is, after all, a great humanitarian.

I will have more on the process in some future posts, but for now I hope you’ll read the book and tell me what you think of it. You can get it on Amazon (it qualifies for the 4-for-3 promotion, too), or we have bigger discounts for bulk purchases if you get them directly from the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. All net proceeds go to fund scholarships for patients and caregivers to attend our conferences.

28 Minutes with the Chancellor

One of the points I regularly make in discussing social media tools is the opportunity they provide for providing in-depth information to people who have a particular interest. The example I most frequently cite is this 10-minute video on myelofibrosis, which has been viewed more than 5,200 times on our Mayo Clinic YouTube channel.

It doesn’t matter that Dr. Mesa’s video lacks mass appeal; it provides important information for patients with myelofibrosis and for their families, giving them just what they need, and what they are interested in seeing because they have strong personal motivation to learn about this type of blood cancer.

What you see embedded below is another example of a video with limited mass appeal. Shawn Riley (@rilescat), who blogs at HealthTechnica, hosts a regular TV talk show called Health Connections on our local Austin, MN PBS affiliate, KSMQ. When we announced our new Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, the producer of Health Connections asked if I would come on the program to talk with Shawn about social media in heath care, and about our new center. This interview was broadcast locally last Tuesday, and now the 27:47 program is available (thanks to viewers like you) on YouTube.

I don’t expect this video to get anything near the traffic of Dr. Mesa’s discussion of myelofibrosis. But if you’re among the global niche those interested in applying social media in health care, you may find it helpful.

Launching Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media

The posts on SMUG have been sparse for a few weeks, and here’s why: In my “day job” we’ve been on the verge of announcing what I think is an exciting new development, the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media.

Here’s a story about it from KTTC TV in Rochester, which includes an interview with our interim medical director, Victor Montori, M.D.:

As you might imagine, I’m seriously excited that we have gotten to this point. I’ll be writing more about this later, but just wanted to resurface after several days of what may have seemed like summer vacation here at SMUG.

Update 7/30/2010: The KAAL TV story on the launch of the center also was picked up by You can see it here: