Stephen Covey’s Mayo Clinic Lecture

The Donald C. Ozmun and Donald B. Ozmun and Family Lecture brings prominent academic and business leaders to Mayo Clinic to discuss management issues of interest to employees. This afternoon, Stephen Covey, Ph.D., presented “The Eighth Habit: from Effectiveness to Greatness.”

Dr. Covey (here is his blog) gave the address live from our Arizona campus, with videoconferencing to Jacksonville, Fla. and Rochester, Minn. Here are some of the highlights:

Covey says empowering shared mission statements are produced when:

  • There are enough people
  • who are fully informed
  • and are interacting freely and synergistically
  • in an environment of high trust

Covey says this Principle-Centered DNA is gradually overlaid by Cultural DNA (that is individualistic and comparison-based) in most people and organizations. He says the strength of Mayo Clinic is that it is peeling back the Cultural DNA to get at the underlying Principle-Centered roots.

Continue reading “Stephen Covey’s Mayo Clinic Lecture”

Can YouTube Beat Facebook Video Quality?

I recently had an interesting experience with a video I posted both to our Mayo Clinic YouTube Channel and to the official Mayo Clinic Facebook “fan” page. The video was created to provide a behind-the-scenes tour of the new Mayo Clinic Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla. I uploaded the same file to both YouTube and Facebook, and the quality difference is striking.

Here’s the YouTube version:


It looks fine, but my friend Hoyt, the star of the video, was struck by the superior clarity of the same video on the Mayo Clinic Facebook page. I had noticed this previously with some other videos I had uploaded.

Obviously YouTube has the volume and critical mass for video sharing (and the advantage that you can embed it within blogs, while with Facebook you can only offer a link), but I wonder why YouTube’s quality is so much lower.

Is it because of the sheer volume of videos, that because YouTube is processing so many new uploads every day so it can’t afford to devote the processing power that would render the videos more clearly in Flash? Does the fact that Facebook has a video application for its platform contribute to the quality difference? Or are there some settings that would make YouTube videos look better? The one I uploaded was 137 megs for about a 6-minute video in mpeg format.

What settings would you recommend for export to get maximum quality in videos uploaded to YouTube, while keeping file sizes reasonable?

And do you have to be a fan of Mayo Clinic to see the Facebook version? I’m assuming you have to be at least a Facebook member, although you can at least see the basic fan page without being a member.

What do you think? What’s your experience with maximizing video quality in YouTube? Can it be as good as what you see in Facebook?

Updated: I tried clicking the video link without being logged in to Facebook, and I could see the video, so it seems it isn’t necessary to be a Facebook member to see Facebook video.

Mayo Clinic Social Media Progress Report

After presenting at a Web 2.0 Summit last week in Oakland, CA, I got to thinking it would be good to do an update on where we are with Mayo Clinic‘s engagement in social media. We’ve made a lot of progress in the last three years from a completely “old media” focus to a more balanced approach, continually increasing our attention to what Charlene Li calls “the Groundswell.” And hopefully when I do another update in a few months, I’ll be able to look back on many more exciting developments.

Here’s a list of where we are as of today in our social media exploration and adoption. For those areas in which I can pinpoint a starting date, I’ll do so.

Care Pages – Mayo Clinic provides this service for hospitalized patients, enabling them to provide updates to family and friends on a secure Web page. This helps keep loved ones informed without the undue burden of repeating information by cell phone for each individual, and it enables concerned friends and family to send greetings to the patient. We’ve had this service for a few years, and I know many patients appreciate how it makes staying in touch while hospitalized easier.

Podcasts – Mayo Clinic’s first podcast was based on our Medical Edge radio program, and launched in Sept. 2005 through what was then the iTunes Music Store. This gave us our first taste of the potential interest in and power of “new media.” In January 2007 we began offering video podcasts of Mayo Clinic Medical Edge television segments, and in July 2007 followed with extended podcasts in several categories: Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Children’s Health, Heart, Cancer and Bones & Muscles. In April 2008, we moved these podcasts to, so users could find and listen to individual segments of interest, instead of subscribing to a particular feed.

RSS/Web Feeds – Also in Sept. 2005, we began offering really simple syndication (RSS), a.k.a. Web Feeds. You can sign up for Mayo Clinic News from all three campuses (or can choose to receive only Arizona, Florida or Minnesota news), health information news, science news or business-related news.

Syndicated Video – Mayo Clinic began using Voxant in 2007 to make its Medical Edge video segments available for syndication to other Web sites. Instead of making people go to our site to view the videos, we wanted to put them where people are going, such as in on-line news sites. The Mayo Clinic YouTube channel was started just last week; expect to see the look improve significantly yet this month. Here’s our latest addition, a video tour of the new Mayo Clinic Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla.


Facebook – with Mayo Medical School and several other health-related science schools (and with our e-mail addresses), Mayo has had people in Facebook for a long time. In the last six months we’ve seen the number of Mayo participants in Facebook more than double, to over 2,100. When “fan” pages became available to organizations and brands in November 2007, we established one immediately (partly because of what you see when you go to We revised and re-categorized the official Mayo Clinic Facebook page in January 2008, and have 1,053 fans as of this writing. In another effort to prevent domain name “squatting,” we also have established accounts in Twitter ( and Flickr.

Finally, we’ve begun sponsoring some official blogs. The first was in conjunction with an event, a symposium on innovation in health care in November 2007. It was hosted on and customized somewhat, but we didn’t map to a subdomain. We followed that in March 2008 with our Health Policy blog, our podcast blog and a blog about diversity in education at Mayo. These have all started in the last two months, and we hope and expect to continue developing new blogs.

Meanwhile, our colleagues at our sister site,, which is Mayo Clinic’s consumer health information site, have been starting blogs and a podcast, too. The blogs cover topics like Alzheimers’ Disease, Nutrition, Stress, Pregnancy and Depression.

Mayo Clinic is one of the United States’ best places to work (Fortune magazine has had us in its top 100 for the last five years.) I feel exceptionally blessed to be able to work for an organization like Mayo, working with such interesting subject matter during this exciting time of innovation and change in the media world.

Mayo Clinic Podcasts Featured on

A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to discuss our Mayo Clinic podcasts with Michael Sebastian from Ragan Communications for a newsletter article. My friend Chris Martin just passed along the article, which was posted on today. I think Michael does a nice job of summarizing our podcasting history and some of the current activity. Most importantly, I think he quite accurately reflects what we discussed in the interview; that’s a real treat. Check out the story.

If you’re interested in a bit more of what Mayo Clinic has been doing in social media, check out our Facebook fan page and the blog (and podcast) we’ve established for the Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center. My colleagues at also have some blogs and podcasts they’ve been producing, too, and we’ve got some more good things in the works.

I’m blessed to work for an organization that not only makes traditional media relations a priority, but also is enabling and encouraging us to engage in social media. I think a big part of the reason for this support is our leaders’ healthy appreciation of the role word-of-mouth from satisfied patients has played in Mayo Clinic achieving the reputation it has.

The on-line social networks like Facebook are just newer and more powerful versions of the water cooler or the backyard fence, where people talk about what’s going on in their lives and what’s important to them.

Their health care experiences are among those meaningful topics.

It’s an exciting time to be working in news media and social media, and particularly where they intersect. I’m looking forward to the next few days here at Health Journalism 2008, and particularly to the session on “Multimedia tools for telling stories,” which will include Scott Hensley from the Wall Street Journal‘s Health Blog. He’s right at the intersection of mainstream and social media, and it will be interesting to hear his perspective.

Business Blogging Capstone Project

Yesterday was a big day blogging for me…not with SMUG, but on a work-related blog.


Tom Brokaw was the keynote speaker and moderator for the opening session of the Mayo Clinic National Symposium on Health Care Reform. I hope SMUG students will check out Mayo Clinic’s Health Policy Blog, which I’ve been using to capture the essence of the symposium proceedings and to help extend the conversation both geographically and temporally.

This is the equivalent of a capstone project, enabling me to apply for a business purpose the things I’ve been learning through my personal blogging. It’s been an interesting experience, and I’d appreciate any comments or suggestions here on ways I can improve what I’ve been doing there.