Hooked on Social Media: How One OB/GYN Uses Social Media to Help His Patients

Jeff_LivingstonWhen Dr. Jeff Livingston, an OB/GYN practicing at MacArthur OB/GYN in Irving, TX, began his practice he immediately found a cause.

“I was trying to address the problem of teen pregnancy in our area,” he remembers. “There were a lot of pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. I was volunteering time at the local high school.”

“I came home one night, and my teenage daughter said, ‘Dad, you ought to get a My Space page.’” Livingston had no idea what that was, so he asked his daughter to help create the page for him. The next time he spoke to a group of high school students he put the page address on the screen. “The page went crazy,” he says. “Teenagers started asking all sorts of health questions about private things.” Read more

Humanize Your Hospital By Blogging

Note: Following is my contribution to a new book, Bringing the Social Media #Revolution to Health Care, published by the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. The book is a compilation of essays by 30 thought-leaders and hands-on participants in health care social media. Buy it on Amazon.

In Search of Excellence author and renowned business consultant Tom Peters says, “No single thing in the last fifteen years professionally has been more important to my life than blogging. It has changed my life. It has changed my perspective. It has changed my emotional outlook. And it’s the best marketing tool by an order of magnitude I have ever had.”

Despite that ringing endorsement, of the 1,501 hospitals engaged in social media, only 149 host blogs, according to the Health Care Social Media List. All those other hospitals are missing out on a huge opportunity. 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

Six Tools To Localize Twitter for Your Hospital

One concern I’ve heard from hospital marketing staffs is that social media’s footprint is too wide-reaching to be effective for local hospitals.

They wonder if it is really worth the time and effort, since the only people they are concerned about connecting with are in their local community. My answer is simple: Yes, because people in your local community are using social media.

I do appreciate the concern about this new boundary-less medium. It’s so much easier to manage a medium that has limitations, such as selecting a cable channel covering a certain region or targeting regional editions of certain newspapers. Read more

How One Children’s Hospital Used Social Media to Deal with the Unthinkable

flickr: Vectorportal.com.

Last Friday, February 17, highly-respected Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon, called a news conference to address the unthinkable.

A male nurse in the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit had been charged with downloading and distributing child pornography.

Doernbecher did all the right things. They issued a news release, held a news conference, posted Frequently Asked Questions regarding the case on their website, set up a telephone hotline for anyone who had questions and mailed 10,000 letters to families whose children had been treated at the hospital during the time the nurse was employed. Read more