Private Facebook Group or Branded Online Community?

One of the most frequent questions we are asked when we help our healthcare clients develop online communities is “Why not use a private Facebook group?”

Given the fact that Facebook is “free” and the audience is huge, that’s a great question. Here are eight things you need to consider when choosing your community platform.

Branding and customization

Your organization has invested a lot in its brand online. Owning your own space (e.g. allows you to extend that brand to your community in a robust way and make the user experience your own. Your organization can control the experience from end-to-end. Read more

The Power of Healthcare Online Communities

In the new world of community (population) management, your role as a healthcare marketer will change dramatically.

Your hospital will receive a single payment to care for all the patients in your community. Your goal will be to treat every patient at the least expensive point. And that will mean keeping patients out of the hospital rather than driving them in.

HIPAA-compliant, safe, private online health communities will be one of the powerful tools to help you accomplish these objectives.

Today, even before population management becomes the norm, there are endless opportunities to connect patients with patients, caregivers with caregivers, moms with moms, patients with physicians and physicians with each other. Read more

The Intimate Public: Extending the Benefit of Healthcare’s Online Communities

flickr: kaybee07

Recently, when reading an article by Chelsea Lonsdale in the Slughorne Journal titled The “Intimate Public” of Mommy Blogs, I was reminded of the concept of “the intimate public” first introduced by Lauren Berlant. It’s a helpful concept as you consider how online communities can be used to prevent or manage illness, as well as how to extend the benefit of these online communities to offline patients.

Lonsdale borrowed the phrase “intimate public” from Lauren Berlant’s book The Female Complaint (2008) and related Berlant’s definition of intimate public: “a porous, affective scene of identification among strangers that promises a certain experience of belonging and provides a complex of consolation, confirmation, discipline, and  discussion about how to live as an x.” Read more

Social Media: Pinch Hitting Medical Home Runs

With discussions of healthcare reform permeating our hospitals and clinics, I’ve been on a quest to read “success stories” to gain insight into how organizations have achieved improved care with reduced costs.

My quest uncovered an article in Health Affairs by Arnold Milstein and Elizabeth Gilbertson who highlighted four care sites in the United States that constituted “medical home runs” because their patients incurred 15-20% less spending than patients treated by regional peers, without evidence of reduced quality. Read more

What Makes a Successful Hospital Facebook Page?

By one measure, Adam Lee runs one of the most successful hospital Facebook pages in the U.S., and he does it in just two to four hours a week.

Adam is social media coordinator for Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, and the measure is engagement. The Facebook page he manages consistently ranks in the top 5% of U.S. hospitals for engagement, according to the Ubicare EQ chart. (We’ve written before about Ubicare here and here.)

In a recent interview, Adam shared some important insights into how to build engagement. Some of his comments are edited for brevity. (You can follow Adam on Twitter at @AdamLeeDesign.)  Read more