Tag Archives: social media

LHIN Tweets

In a blog post earlier this year (What are LHIN boards discussing?) I noted that Ontario LHINs are using various mechanisms to inform people about LHIN board meetings.   I discovered last week that at least one LHIN, the South West LHIN, is experimenting with live tweeting at board meetings.

When I saw that the Director, Communications & Customer Service, Julie White (who I only know through Twitter and email), was tweeting from the most recent board meeting, I email’d her to learn a little more about why she was doing so and what she was learning from the experience.  This blog post summarizes our email exchange.

When did you start tweeting?

“I began tweeting a year ago when I worked for the South East LHIN and I was doing community engagement roadshows across the LHIN. The goal then was to begin conversations before we got to certain towns/villages, to promote our events and then to continue the conversations afterwards.”

Why did you decide to tweet from the board meeting?  Is this initiative part of an overall communications plan or ad-hoc activity?

“I am currently revising our corporate communications plan for the LHIN, but in the interim, we have been focused in two areas: joining the social network conversation and getting the good news out about the successes we have had within our LHIN. I’ve tweeted from Board meetings before, but not in any concerted or planned way as of yet. Today I had my laptop with me (monitoring other issues during the meeting), so tweeting some details of the meeting seemed natural – but was totally unplanned.”

“It’s another step in being open, transparent and accountable.”

“We also cover a large geographical area and rarely have on-site media coverage, so tweeting makes sense in order to share ideas and thoughts with the community”

Are members of the board aware that you are tweeting from board meetings?

“If you were to ask the majority of them what tweeting was, you may have some interesting answers! That said, we are starting to measure our social media efforts (very crudely right now) and roll up those results in our communications report to the Board’s Committee meeting every month.”

Did you get any feedback on your tweets for this most recent board meeting?

“I didn’t get any direct response – and struggle right now from the pushing out of information to the true engaging opportunity that could result. I’m looking for that balance!”

P.S.  If you don’t what a “tweet’ is, check out http://www.twitter.com.  Although both the name and the underlying concept might seem a little silly at first, twitter is quickly becoming a powerful tool for keeping people informed and engaged.

US eHealth policy and social media

As I have mentioned in previous blog posts I am closely following the evolution of eHealth policy in the US.  Based on policy direction from president Obama, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Healthcare IT is trying hard to be as open and transparent as possible about all discussions and decisions related to eHealth policy and standards.  One way that the ONC is implementing this directive is to webcast all HIT Policy and HIT Standards committee and working group meetings.

At the end of each session the public is invited to offer their comments. I have been listening to many of the webcasts and was struck by the relative lack of public comments.  For most of the sessions that I have attended there have been only one or two people stepping forward to offer comments or asking questions.  For the past week I have pondered why there have been so few comments and whether this apparent lack of interest means that the webcasts are a wasted effort.  It struck me this morning that the webcasts are simply one element in a complex social media ecosystem.  While many people might not take the time to sit through literally hours of sometimes dry committee and working group sessions, bloggers and journalists are doing so and are reporting on the highlights of these sessions.  These individuals then post and tweet about what they have heard and quickly spread the word.  I have been amazed at how quickly summaries of committee and working group sessions are available.

The ONC is using a variety of techniques to keep people informed about their activities and to solicit their feedback. These techniques rely heavily on social media technology and, based on the information appearing in trade magazines and the mainstream press, seem to be effective at engaging many constituencies.


Social Media and Hospitals

I have been conducting market research on the mobility market on a client’s behalf.  As part of this research I have looked at IT trends and forecasts. In addition to predictions that the mobile internet will grow faster and become larger than the “wired” Internet, I have also seen predictions regarding the growth and impact of social media.  There appears to be consensus that social media will have a huge impact on how people interact and do business.

I have been monitoring use and adoption of social media by health sector.  While an increasing number of hospitals are experimenting with social media, a recent article in HealthLeaders Media


indicates , according to a study by Greystone.net, that “nine in 10 hospitals use social media to some degree, but most of them say they’re having little luck attracting new patients with it, and only one in three has a formal social media plan in place“.   While the study found that budgeting for social media is still relatively rare, Greystone.Net reports that many respondents stated that this situation is likely to change in the near future.   The study also found that “Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook are the most popular social media for hospitals, and also the most effective in terms of driving traffic to the Web site.”

Having been involved in the Internet since the late 1980’s and witnessed first hand how the Internet has evolved, I see social media as a “technology” that will have tremendous impact on how organizations interact with their stakeholders including “customers”.  Hence, I encourage the health sector to take the time to figure out how to make social media work for them.


How will Canadian healthcare address IT Trends?

Gartner, the often quoted market research and consulting firm, released their key predictions for 2010 and beyond:


Several predictions that relate to topics I frequently discuss on this blog include:

  • By 2012, Facebook will become the hub for social network integration and Web socialization.
  • By 2014, over 3 billion of the world’s adult population will be able to transact electronically via mobile or Internet technology …. Gartner predicts that by 2014 , there will be a 90% mobile penetration rate and 6.5 billion mobile connections.
  • By 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide.

Clearly social networking and the mobile internet are quickly become an integral part of day to day technology.  Just as the web changed the manner in which IT applications were developed and deployed, so too will social media and the mobile internet change the face of IT over the next few years.  How will healthcare embrace these trends?   When I discuss these topics with many Canadian healthcare organizations I sense lukewarm interest and a feeling that these technologies are not relevant to healthcare service delivery.  What are your thoughts?  Should healthcare organizations be paying more attention to social media and the mobile internet?  Or, are these technologies more relevant to other industries?


Social Media and Healthcare

I recently completed a discussion paper on Consumer eHealth for a client.  In my research, I found that the rapid adoption of social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter by the general public has not gone unnoticed by healthcare organizations and providers. Ed Bennett, a hospital web manager, tracks U.S. hospital use of social networking tools.  According to Mr. Bennett’s blog, 473   U.S. hospitals are currently using YouTube, Facebook, twitter, or a blog (up from 410 when I completed the report six weeks ago).

An article[1] in the Telemedicine and e-Health Journal listed offers some thoughts on how Twitter might be employed by healthcare organizations:

  • Disaster alerting and response
  • Diabetes management (blood glucose tracking)
  • Drug safety alerts from the Food and Drug Administration
  • Biomedical device data capture and reporting
  • Shift-bidding for nurses and other healthcare professionals
  • Diagnostic brainstorming
  • Rare diseases tracking and resource connection
  • Providing smoking cessation assistance
  • Broadcasting infant care tips to new parents
  • Post-discharge patient consultations and follow-up care

I noticed this morning that the Ontario Hospital Association is hosting a workshop on social media entitled “Social Media Demystified: Best Practices and Setting Strategy with Confidence” on 21 January 2010.  Clearly there is interest in the Ontario health sector and I look forward to seeing how Ontario healthcare organizations embrace social media.


[1] “Twittering Healthcare: Social Media and Medicine”, Telemedicine and e-Health Journal, Vol 15, No. 6, July/August 2009,