Social Media and Healthcare

I focus on three technology areas in my little consulting practice – eHealth, mobile technologies, and social media.  I am particularly fascinated  by  the opportunities that exist at the intersection of these three technology areas.

When I talk to senior healthcare decision makers and thought leaders in Canada, I find a general reluctance to explore or use social media.  I have in previous blog posts suggested eHealth leaders such as Greg Reed from eHealth Ontario make use of social media to engage wider communities and to keep interested stakeholders abreast of what they are thinking and doing.  Alas, my pleas seem to have fallen on deaf ears 🙂

Given the apparent reluctance to use social media that I have encountered to date, I was intrigued to find a blog maintained by Paul Levy, the President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.   According to their web site, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is “a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School” that is “renowned for excellence in patient care, biomedical research, teaching and community service. Located in the heart of Boston’s Longwood Medical and Academic Area, it hosts nearly three quarters of a million patient visits annually in and around Boston.”  Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a large hospital by Canadian standards, with “621 licensed beds, including 419 medical/surgical beds, 77 critical care beds and 60 OB/GYN beds.”

Paul Levy finds the time to  post to his blog nearly every day.  According to a recent blog post on the topic of social media, Paul argues:

“A major advantage of social media is its asynchronicity. The person or people with whom I am communicating do not have to be doing it at the same time as I do. Another advantage, of course, is the broader reach of social media, being able to be in touch with dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people.”

Paul not only demonstrates that value of social media but also shows that it is relevant and powerful tool for senior executives.   Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from Paul’s experience for other busy executives.


2 responses to “Social Media and Healthcare

  1. Perhaps the reason Paul maintains a blog is because he has stakeholders who care about what he has to say and they are willing to engage in a dialogue with him?

    In Canada, if you engage your stakeholders in a dialogue, you’ll hear things you don’t really want to hear. Better to not blog.

  2. Karim,
    That seems to be quite a cynical view. I really hope that you don’t believe it.


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