An open discussion around patient engagement…

Business CommunicationAs a healthcare professional I believe patient engagement is critical to successful outcomes. From my perspective, the more engaged and involved a person is in their own healthcare the better chance we have of helping them achieve their personal health goals.

As the co-founder of a healthcare data company I find the research and statistics around patient engagement interesting and thought provoking. Over the past few month as I’ve been reading industry articles, different information and stats have caught my eye. Causing me to stop and think about what can we learn from what others have shared. I’ve been asking myself, how can we use our industry information and experience to help us better engage patients?

Going back through my notes I’ve pulled a few articles and stats I believe we can learn from and that can provide direction in our patient engagement efforts. As a start to the discussion, I’ve offered my thoughts and look forward to ideas and input from other healthcare professionals, patients and health consumers.

Let’s Talk Patient Engagement

True patient engagement has metrics of demonstrable success – at scale – over time.

What can we learn?

It’s important to share our success and failures, to be open with our best practices and collaborate on patient engagement efforts. Working together, sharing what has worked and what hasn’t can go a long way in expanding patient engagement activities. Putting numbers around successful outcomes can pave the way for change. Best practices can act as road maps for those just starting down the pathway to patient engagement.

“The path that most Americans are traveling is on their mobile devices.

What can we learn?

People are mobile; healthcare needs to be as well. Healthcare information needs to be easily accessible on mobile devices. Mobile healthcare apps play a critical role in patient engagement; let’s get our focus there. Let’s encourage physicians to prescribe mobile apps. Let’s make them interactive, used as a two-way communication channel. Let’s explore unmet needs and utilize mobile health tools to resolve these needs.

“Millennials are more familiar with the term patient engagement than their Gen X counterparts.

What can we learn?

Target your messaging. The best way to ensure your message resonates is to make it audience specific. Talk to the health consumers you want to reach, understand what they need and how you can help them. Do your homework; determine how they like to get their information.

“Leadership will be determined in part by the capacity to leverage new tools to build, communicate and influence.

What can we learn?

Digital natives will slowly begin to assume leadership roles in medicine, let’s look to them to for ways to engage the growing base of digital native health consumers. Let’s be open to their ideas and support their change efforts. I see this as one of the most exciting areas of patient engagement – the growing community of digital native physicians and the ideas they bring to medicine.

“In this model the patient is in charge of their own health care and they are building their trusted networks.

What can we learn?

Healthcare conversations are taking place on social media, with or without you. To maintain the role of trusted health advisor and be in a position to truly engage patients it’s imperative for physicians, healthcare organizations and pharmaceutical companies to be an active participant in the online healthcare discussion.

“Pharmaceutical companies are starting to deal with the lack of regulatory transparency by publishing their own guidelines. However, even with these safeguards in place AstraZeneca was forced to pull a Twitter campaign in August 2013.

What can we learn?

Pharma will make mistakes, but those companies that are trying to engage and are open to new channels of communication deserve our support. Let’s share information, guidelines and best practices to support Pharma’s efforts. Let’s work with them to develop programs and tools that solve patient problems and enhance engagement.

Let the discussion begin…

What are your thoughts on these articles and statistics? What do you think we can learn and share within our healthcare community?

Do you have an interesting article you think we should read? Share it, let’s learn together.

Is it time for more companies to join the healthcare social media discussion?

This past week I had the opportunity to be a guest host on What’s News in Healthcare Social Media, a weekly Goggle+ Hangout organized by Todd Hartley and Kathi Browne. With Todd out of town, I had the honor of sitting across the virtual desk from Kathi to discuss the latest articles and events in the healthcare social media space.

We had a busy show, covering 8 articles that ranged from a case study highlighting a pharmaceutical tweet chat to using crowdfunding as a tool to cover post emergency medical costs. You can catch the February 12, 2014 episode here:

During the November 13, 2013 episode Kathi and Todd discussed data highlighting hospital social media access. Healthcare professionals were asked… Does your hospital allow or block access to social media sties from work computers connected to the corporate network? We found 59% of those surveyed indicated they were NOT allowed access to social media in their hospitals. 

Full report: CROWDVoice: Blocking Social Media in Hospitals

Kathi and Todd’s discussion: 

What are your thoughts on the use of social media in healthcare? Good idea or bad idea?

Drop us a note, we’d love to hear your experience using social media in the healthcare setting.

This post originally appeared on CROWDTalk. 


To Friend or Not to Friend… Your Physician on Facebook

For better or worse, social media is part of today’s world and plays an important role in the way many of us communicate and share information. Look through a few Facebook statistics and you quickly realize the magnitude of social media communications in our daily lives.

  • Total number of Facebook users: 1.26 billion
  • Average time spent on Facebook per day: 20 billion minutes total
  • Total number of Facebook friend connections: 150 billion
  • Number of Facebook messages sent daily: 10 billion

Based on these stats, it’s easy to assume that sharing photos and life events with family and friends via Facebook is pretty commonplace. Does that same ‘comfort in sharing’ apply to the more personal areas of our lives, like our healthcare?

As a healthcare professional I’m always curious about the answer to that question, so I participated in research that asked 100 random US health consumers their thoughts on friending their personal physician on Facebook.

Health consumers were asked…  Would you ‘friend’ your personal physician on Facebook? Feel free to tell us why or why not in the comment section.

27% ‘liked’ the idea of friending you physician on Facebook, while 73% gave it a thumbs down. 

Interesting results when you think of the volume of personal information already being shared on Facebook. Yes and no responses aside, the real insights can be found in the comments. There were privacy concerns and big brother issues, input on other social media options and feedback from those who think friending their doc could be helpful.

Would you friend your physician on Facebook?
Health Consumer Comments…
  • Just don’t want to the chance of any personal info ending up on FB for all to see! Why chance it!
  • I have some health issues that I DO NOT want on Facebook.
  • Not comfortable using social media in my health dialogue, emails are ok but not public things like Facebook.
  • Sure, maybe I’ll get a little more attention.
  • I think friending your personal physician on Facebook would be beneficial for the purpose of building stronger relationship. In addition, you could also get information related to your medical situation from a good source especially if the physician likes to engage on social networks.
  • Good way to get more personalized attention.
  • Connecting on Facebook does not mean sharing personal data, it simply means connecting and hopefully improving communication.
  • Social communications are the future & I want to be ‘talking’ to my health circle!
  • Is my doctor even on Facebook? I can’t email the office for anything (phone only) so hard to believe he is on Facebook.
  • Perhaps but not sure I would want him to see everything I do.
  • Wonder what insurance implications might be?
  • Difficult question, will my insurance company see this? Will my doc use what he sees there against me?
  • I’d be worried my insurance company or employer would see my personal health info.
  • No but I would follow him on Twitter.
  • I’d rather friend him on G+. I like the platform and dialogue on G+ much better than FB.

What are your thoughts? Would you friend your physician on Facebook? Drop us a line and let us know how you feel about Facebook and social media use in health care.