The Importance of Building Communities of Shared Interests

Last year I gave a talk at the 2013 Pelvic Health Conference in Denver, Colorado, and my focus was on the need for healthcare marketers to build communities of shared interest. These are niche online communities that give patients the opportunity to engage with others who are going through, or have gone through, similar circumstances.

When you get a diagnosis or are facing a significant health issue, it is natural to want to seek out others who have faced the same set of challenges. The experience, support and guidance of members of disease–specific online patient support community can be invaluable. Someone diagnosed with a rare disease or chronic condition can potentially find community among the group members.

If the healthcare organization is part of the community, it has the opportunity to inject high quality information and medical expertise, and make available important resources for those visiting the community. Ideally, in this scenario, the provider is the host and the facilitator, making the interactions possible – helping to create community.

Many online communities have developed independent of healthcare providers

For the most part, the reality is that online communities of shared interest have developed independent of healthcare providers. And there are communities for almost any condition you can imagine.

One that has recently been in the news is Adam Pick, a patient advocate and former heart valve patient, started the website and online community to empower patients and caregivers from diagnosis to recovery. (Adam is also the author of The Patient’s Guide To Heart Valve Surgery.) The site includes a wide array of resources for heart valve patients: a cardiac surgeon finder, a heart valve clinic finder tool with profiles of the major clinics, a blog, a patient community/social network, patient and physician videos, and more.

With its Heart Valve Clinic Directory and Heart Valve Clinic Microsite application, now offers patients an end-to-end platform for learning about heart valve surgery.

Sharing and interacting drives participation

In the online community portion of the site, patients and family members can write journal entries, upload pictures and share their stories. Equally important, they can learn about the stories of others and interact with friends, family, patients and caregivers.  If you decide to follow a specific patient’s journal, you can elect to have updates sent to you via email, letting you know when new journal entries have been posted.

I discovered when one of my clients, the East Carolina Heart Institute at Vidant Medical Center, announced the formation of a new Heart Valve Clinic Microsite that would be hosted on The Heart Valve Clinic Microsite provides patients a simple interface with multimedia capabilities to educate them about valvular therapy and the East Carolina Heart Institute.

To date it looks like nine heart valve clinics have developed microsites on, recognizing the opportunity to share information with patients and family members visiting the online community. This is truly a “community of shared interest.” And this type of community is only going to become more prevalent over time. It is time for healthcare marketers to embrace their new role as community builders and facilitators.

18 replies
  1. online business
    online business says:

    It is important to get an effective digital marketing agency that would help you in finding all the specific details about the internet marketing and digital marketing as an effective medium
    to increase your sales as well as improve the rankings
    in the search engines. Web analytics draw insights from available
    data so that you can devise your strategies effectively in future.
    Once you employ a professional service, you will definitely enjoy high
    returns on your investment.

  2. Florine
    Florine says:

    Because of its long history it has had a substantial impact upon other Islamic groups.
    The key is not to become so involved that you forget to take care of yourself.

    You want to go into battle with players that will use their two attacks and not just be another
    base for the enemy to obtain stars from.

  3. original articles
    original articles says:

    May I simply just say what a relief to uncover somebody who really knows what they’re talking about on the internet.
    You definitely know how to bring a problem to light and make
    it important. More people must look at this and understand this side of your story.

    I was surprised you’re not more popular because you definitely have
    the gift.

  4. windows 8.1 activator ultimate
    windows 8.1 activator ultimate says:

    It just reconfigures Office 2010 for use with your copy of Windows operating system.

    This is a completely customizable software and you can run it
    in simple mode or advanced mode as per your requirement.
    Thermal performance of the HP Compaq 6730B NB018EA ended
    up being considerably under normal while under tension.

  5. Vada
    Vada says:

    I have learn some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking
    for revisiting. I wonder how a lot effort you put to create such a fantastic informative website.

  6. Pamala
    Pamala says:

    Magnificent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a
    blog site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast
    provided bright clear concept

  7. tricycle for kids
    tricycle for kids says:

    Thanks for any other informative web site. The place else may I get
    that type of info written in such an ideal means?
    I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I’ve
    been on the glance out for such information.

  8. Mason
    Mason says:

    You really make it seem really easy along with your presentation but I in finding this topic to be really
    one thing that I feel I might never understand.
    It sort of feels too complex and very extensive for me.
    I’m taking a look forward to your next submit, I will try to get the cling of it!

  9. โกดัง
    โกดัง says:

    Social gatherings can cover charity events, social clubs, high school proms, political functions, religious festivals,
    beauty pageants, fashion shows and the like. However, due to such sharp differentiation in climatic
    conditions, there are numerous sensitive household
    goods that get spoilt. However, remember that you have
    to pay a small fee to access this information.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *