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June 23, 2010

Smart takes: Hospital social media tips and tactics

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Here’s a neat collection of Tweets offering hospitals some perspective on how to build a social media marketing campaign, with a dash of of our own ideas:

> RT @LindsayMBurke: Amazing list of Hospital Social Media Policies #RNChat http://ebennett.org/hsnl/hsmp/ #rnchat #hcsm #hcsmeu

AZ:  Here’s an exercise we recommend:  brainstorm a list of five to ten social media policies you’d like to put in place, then read these suggestions. Next, ask yourself what the differences mean.  Our take is that most facilities impose misguided, knee-jerk policies on employees, ones which bear no relationship to how much they trust them otherwise.

> Interesting RT @ERMSquirrel: “If we can trust our hospital staff with sharp instruments, we can trust them with social media.” #hcsm

AZ: Heck yeah, but most CEOs think information is *far* more dangerous. Truthfully, sometimes they’re right, but even so, the problem’s easy enought to address.

> @agsocialmedia A good blog: Hospital Social Media: Fluidity – gauge the engagement: Fluidity – gauge the engagement. Social media… http://bit.ly/9KdDk5

AZ:  Sounds a bit esoteric, but the bottom line is that you can’t beat any approach to death;  don’t forget to apply the “evaluate and reposition” stage to your communications efforts. And we’re not talking about PR, marketing and social media; we’re talking about the entire way you look about how you talk to *EVERYONE*.  (Rant to follow in future post.)

> @kevinmessina Social Media vs. Traditional Media for Hospital Marketing http://wp.me/pzB01-16

AZ:  Always a good idea to look at whether you’ve dragging useless notions from the old media into the news.

@Focus on the social networks that are yielding you the most benefit. Don’t spread yourself too thin over 10 if you can do it with 5.

AZ:  Great, great point.  Many of our customers think communications efforts — including social media — involve shooting at broad targets with metaphoric paintballs. Well, if you do that all you have is a drippy wall that virtually no one sees.

> @nancysiniard Hospital Marketing: Social Media as Customer Service Tool http://wp.me/pzB01-bq

AZ:  By *all means* read this link above.  While other industries — think @comcastcares — are learning how to communicate with customers through Twitter and Facebook, most hospitals aren’t even doing a good job with incoming phone calls. Hey, use this  moment as a chance to take your entire customer service effort up a notch by a) talking to patients and the community and b) helping internal stakeholders communicate back and forth with customer services.

And finally…some brain food:

> @prsarahevans This isn’t Facebook, but def the coolest hospital social media I’ve seen. http://blog.areustrongenough.com

> @appliedart Top 10 takeaways from the Iowa Hospital Association Social Media Conference held on June 10. http://fb.me/CMVguPiH

July 12, 2009

Theory #1: nextHospitals must serve anyone they can reach

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Until recently, a hospital’s service area was defined almost entirely by the  the neighborhood in which its campus was based.

In essence, hospital executives and board members could choose a physical boundary, be it a county line, a large highway or a ring a few miles in diameter around their facility, and declare that to be their home base.

Today, this approach is is hopelessly outdated.

Of course, hospitals will continue to put their immediate, physical community first, as there’s no getting away from that aspect of their mission. But increasingly, hospitals–like every other business–are being drawn into new relationships fostered by social media tools, mobile phones, YouTube, provider rating sites and more. And it’s time that they use those channels to expand their role.

Many hospital leaders seem to see these tools solely as a channel to blast out their corporate message, but they couldn’t be more mistaken. The people on the other end of these communications, folks, are also your patients.

In fact, this is so much the case that you’ll probably end up sinking big bucks into new communication strategies and technologies, even at the risk of putting off that multi-million dollar pavilion you’d planned to build.

The nextHospital leader will find a way to serve the needs of any patient his facility reaches, by implementing the smartest telemedicine, wellness support, education and virtual support groups available. (And no, we’re not talking static reprints of basic family medical guides you can find on WebMD or ADAM.)

If serving your virtual patients properly means developing a completely different health planning process, so be it.  In today’s world, it’s your responsibility and there’s no excuse to duck it.

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So, folks:  Comments? Questions? Complaints?  Facts to contribute which undermine or strengthen my thesis?  Have at it!