A Good Samaritan for Healthcare and Social Media

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The world is full of good Samaritans who give of themselves for others. Let’s focus on two, Ed Bennett of the Maryland University Medical Center and David Ekrem, Manager, Web Development at the Mass General Hospital for Children. They compiled a list of hospitals using social media, specifically at least one of four types of social media blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Ed and I chat in this podcast about why and how hospitals are gradually dipping their toes into the social media pool. Bennett weaves ways to use social media in with new media tools like, webcasts, podcasts, and video of surgeries, long before it became fashionable to Tweet about it. In the podcast, Bennett, a web manager, makes a good case for marketers and PR folks to work with IT in this life and death environment.

There are hundreds of ways to use these tools, enough to give anyone a headache. Allow me to outline one use for each medium.

Blogs – A blog is a place for an on going dialogue, detail, and to build a body of work that helps brand a facility or an individual. Dr. John Butler is a physician at the
Arden Hills Clinic in Minnesota. He recently caught my attention with a post about the iPhone as an essential medical instrument. His blog helps ease the anxiety about medicine in general and informs about specific issues about which he is familiar. It warms us up to Dr. Butler.

A Good Samaritan for Healthcare and Social Media

FacebookSt. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital there are so many things this Facebook page does well but I share it not because other hospitals should take on the same thing, but to show how versatile this platform can be. It can be used by patients to share their stories on your wall. When you visit this site to see those stories, bring a tissue. It uses widgets in conjunction with the page to raise donations. It uses multimedia to inform. And yes, it shares a personal side asking NCAA bracketology questions and other aspects of being part of a social community.

TwitterCarilion Clinic in Roanoke, VA and Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, GA are good examples of hospitals that use Twitter as a newsfeed. Little nuggets of news from the hospital, events like parenting classes or links to information about faster radiation treatments are a good diet of information for hospitals.


I have not seen this application for twitter yet, so I’ll share the idea. If you’ve seen it from a healthcare provider let me know. If not, and you like the idea, take it and tell me. I think a facility that has a specialty in hearts or bariatric surgery can do a specific feed related to diet and exercise. It would contain information about calorie count, fast food healthy choices, reminders to do 2 flights of stairs, and all coordinated to an appropriate time of day. This feed is best send as a text message to your phone since it will be a good reminder to push away from that lunch table in time to take the long way back to the office.

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