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

Boost Social Media Engagement by Keeping it Short

Chart from Track Social’s white paper: Optimizing Facebook Engagement


I recently downloaded a white paper by Track Social titled “Optimizing Facebook Engagement.”

Track Social is a large-scale social media analytics platform that monitors the social media presences of more than 10,000 brands on the major social media platforms. The white paper presents the results of a major study and gives 10 keys for optimizing Facebook engagement, including type of content, frequency of posts, post length, timing and content.

One of the findings that grabbed my attention was the impact length of post has on engagement. Notice the image at the beginning of this post. The study found that as the length of the Facebook post increased, engagement dropped significantly. The Facebook post most likely to generate engagement is under 140 characters. Read more

Exploring Free Tools for Social Media Sentiment Analysis in Healthcare

flickr: Haiko

I remember the old days of media monitoring (notice I did not say the good old days) when sentiment was measured through press clippings.

As archaic as it seems today, one of my jobs as an undergraduate college intern was sorting and measuring the monthly press clips that were delivered in a large envelope from the university’s clipping service. I would measure the column inches and decide if the story was positive, negative or neutral. I added up the column inches by sentiment to provide the director with a “sentiment analysis” on the coverage of each story.

Today, companies have expanded their monitoring to online conversations and replaced those interns with sophisticated media monitoring and analysis tools. Read more

Physicians: E-Engagement Can Boost Quality Ratings from Patients

flickr: Steve Snodgrass

When my mom, who has dementia, broke her hip and required surgery, I was allowed into the surgical prep area. The nurse even gave me a marker and invited me to write on my mom’s leg as a safety step to make sure they operated on the correct one.

It felt odd at first, but that one invitation–to mark the leg for surgery–gave me greater confidence in the hospital and staff. They engaged me, as a family member, as a partner in my mom’s safety, and it made a difference to my perception of the quality of care my mom would experience at their facility.

Engagement of family members and patients doesn’t have to be such an overt physical act, such as marking a leg. Engagement could be an invitation to read information about post-surgical expectations, watch a video demonstration or talk with the surgeon before the procedure, or hear from former patients who’ve had the procedure. And many of these invitations to engage can take place online. Read more

Social Marketing as Health Intervention: A Profitable Partnership

flickr: surlygirl

A few years ago, researchers in Baltimore teamed up with their city’s Experience Corps (EC), a volunteer program that recruits adults who are 55 or older to volunteer in the public schools to tutor and mentor children.

The EC mainly focuses on increasing literacy among children who are in kindergarten through 3rd grade.  However, the researchers in this study did not focus on measuring the children’s reading outcomes. They were focused on measuring the older adults’ health outcomes.

The older adults who participated in the study were not told that by volunteering in the schools they could improve their own health through increased physical, cognitive, and social activity. Instead, involvement in the program was marketed to potential participants as a way to make a difference in the next generation. Read more