Where Are The "Social Media" Healthcare Organizations?


Doctors_bag Nice to see more companies embracing social media marketing .. social networking .. social computing .. influencer marketing .. participation marketing .. whatever buzz word you call it - along with the tactics that build the mosaic: blogs, widgets, social networks, vlogs, social bookmarks, micro blogging and who knows what will develop tomorrow - however, the reality is many consider it to be more of a revolutionary strategy than an evolutionary way to reach customers.

Although thousands of physicians are active in social media, it's not a big surprise when it comes to Web 2.0 and social media, healthcare organizations are in the caution-to-adopt category. With the restraints of HIPPA is it even worth a dive into the wild side? Should healthcare organizations go "social?"  For Nick Jacobs, President/CEO of Windber Medical Center the benefits from his blog far exceeded expectations. From Nick - his story -

In the Spring of 2005, I became the first Hospital CEO to do a weblog; Nick's Blog or Windberblog at Windbercare will get you there.  After that I began writing for Hospitalimpact.org; Hospital News, Blue H News, and Worldhealthcare Blog on a regular basis.

Because of this Media 2.0 involvement, I began receiving invitations all over the country to speak about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the form of growth, outreach, transparency, criticism, board reaction, etc.   Because of these presentations in Washington D.C., Chicago, Las Vegas etc. I was exposed to the magnitude of not only blog power, but also You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, and any number of other web

Would I blog again?  Yes.  It has resulted in me writing two books and four newspaper columns that have increased our business by double diget figures ..  It has put a human face on a very conservative, formal job, hospital CEO.  It has helped me to reach out to a region that only five years ago dismissed us as a non player.  It has introduced us to the new world order regarding viral marketing and reaching out through the web.

Let's take a look at defining "success." Enoch Choi, MD, another pioneer in this space, believes social media is a good business decision for healthcare organizations.

I''ve recommended healthcare institutions that are interested in getting into social media to go where their target audience is -- where Google searches on the terms they'd like to target are going to.  I'm involved with MedHelp, where these institutions have a chance to have their MDs answer questions, on the topics they'd like to recruit more patients in, to increase their referrals. in this way, blogging can improve their bottom line.

Here area some healthcare organizations that are exploring social media marketing.

Johnson and Johnson's corporate blog 
GlaxoSmithKline's Alli blog for their weight loss medication, Alli
Centocor - CNTO411
Greater New Bedford Community Health Center
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Center for Disease Control 
Windber Medical Center 

ADHDMoms - Facebook - McNeil Pediatrics, a division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals


Mayo Clinic Blogs and Podcasts

Thanks to Fard Johnmar, Envision Solutions, for his help developing this list.

So where are the "social media" healthcare organizations? Certainly there have to be more than a handful. If you know of any please let me know.

Read More

Heard it from  Bob Coffield - The Wisdom of Patients" Health Care Meets Online Social Media, report by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, a health economist.

Update: January 8, 2009 : List of 107 hospitals and medical centers using Facebook, YouTube and/or Twitter.


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Wow, it's great to see more and more types of organizations embracing Social Media. We think it's an awesome idea - providing the organization does it wisely and safely.

Posted by: Brick Marketing on Jul 17, 2008 11:13:07 AM

Thank you for posting this list.

I was aware of Nick's blog which is a great model for hospitals. But I wasn't too aware of these other examples.

As an RN, I've been interested in how to bring good social media to healthcare for a while. I think there are many reasons why the industry, as a whole, has been slow to adopt.

I'll have to check out the sites that you listed. If you don't mind, would you like some feedback (via email?)? Let me know.

Again, thank you and Fard for assembling this list.

Posted by: Phil Baumann on Jul 19, 2008 6:33:53 AM

Good stuff.

Below is a link to a hospital in Iowa that has been having patients blog about their experiences.

You can subscribe to receive before and after operation updates from bariatric patients.

I saw this hospital present at SHSMD 4-5 years ago - they claimed that the blogging platform played a huge roll in producing a good return on their marketing efforts for their bariatric program.

Here is a link:


Posted by: JD Valerio on Jul 19, 2008 5:24:36 PM

@Brick Marketing - yes, that seems to be the challenge for any organization stepping into social media. how to do use the tactics "wisely and safely" but still be authentic and honest. especially so with heathcare.

@Phil - appreciate your kind words. lots of reasons why healthcare is slow to step into the space but then there are even more reasons/benefits why it should be explored. looking forward to continuing the convo "off diva" with you.

@JD - thanks for the heads up about Genesis Healthcare System's blog. they were for sure pioneers in the space.

Posted by: Toby on Jul 20, 2008 12:14:22 PM

Health care organization need to leverage the power of social media to help communities.

Posted by: ManoByte on Aug 31, 2008 6:39:48 PM

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