Tag Archives: Clinical

Healthcare jobseeking, recruitment & social media

As reported by Healthcare IT News yesterday, the recruitment firm AMN Healthcare has just released the results of its second annual survey on the “Use of Social Media and Mobile by Healthcare Professionals” (2011).

Key findings indicate that the use of social media by healthcare professionals, for both job searching and professional networking, is on the rise:

  • Nearly one-third (31%) of respondents cited that they are using social media for job searching, up from 21% in 2010.
  • 48% of all healthcare professionals surveyed said they use social media for professional networking, up from 37% in 2010.
  • 11% of respondents said use of social media resulted in a job interview, 9% said it led to a job offer, and 6% found a new job through their use of social media.
  • Among the healthcare workers surveyed, the top work-related uses of social media were to access healthcare-related education (54%), followed by sharing of research or articles with colleagues (33%), and to communicate with employers (18%).
Given this rate of growth, it seems that healthcare employers who are not leveraging social media as part of their recruitment, educational and collaboration offerings will increasingly find themselves falling behind their peers.

You can review the full report below or in a new window:


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Social media professionalism: a set of principles for physicians

Last week, Dr Mark Ryan contributed a particularly insightful guest post at KevinMD.com entitled “How to maintain physician professionalism in social media.”  Dr Ryan has been one of a number of critics of the social media guidelines adopted recently by some professional medical organizations, such as the American Medical Association and the British Medical Association.  Dr Ryan has expressed his concern that these guidelines have focused to heavily on risk mitigation and that there are no corresponding documents that discuss principles and guidelines for appropriate, positive use of social media by physicians — a sentiment I also expressed in an earlier post on this blog.

So in his guest post, Dr Ryan strikes out to draft exactly such a statement of principles. His list includes nine very practical principles regarding scope, tone, privacy, identity, content, and more.  These are very useful principles for us to consider as we create a Social Media Toolbox for the University that can be a model set of guidelines for clinicians.  Please take some time to review Dr Ryan’s post — and let us know what you think in the comments.

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Professional development opportunity: The Social MEDia Course

Dr Bertalan Meskó (@Berci) is an MD who teaches at the University of Debrecen (Hungary) Medical and Health Science Center, while he is working on his PhD in personalized genomics.  He has also established himself as a real pioneer, curator and educator on medicine and emerging “Web 2.0″ online technologies.  He blogs at ScienceRoll and created a fantastic directory of quality social media resources in dozens of medical disciplines, for professionals and patients alike, called Webicina.  In 2008, he launched a course at UDMHSC on “Medicine and Web 2.0″;  he taught the course in Hungarian during the fall semester and English in the spring semester.  After several years, hundreds of students, conference presentations and lots of inquiries, Dr Meskó has reworked his course for a global online audience, and is calling it “The Social MEDia Course.”

The course launched yesterday, and includes sixteen modules.  Each module includes an interactive presentation built with Prezi, which Dr Meskó estimates will take between 40 and 80 minutes for most students, and an evaluation, which takes 10-12 minutes.  Participants can earn badges for successfully completing each module and passing its evaluation.  Best of all, this excellent professional development opportunity is completely free of charge.  Thanks to Dr Meskó for his excellent work and for building this very useful course!

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Recap of February meetup

Thanks to everyone who joined in for the PrISM meetup yesterday afternoon.  We had a great discussion about measurement and metrics strategies.   Below I have embedded the presentation I created for the meeting using the presentation tool Prezi.  To step through the presentation, click the arrow at the bottom of the embedded window to begin; then use the forward & back arrows to move through the presentation, or click “more” to view the presentation in fullscreen mode:

Here are more details/links for some of the tools I mentioned in the presentation:

  • favstar.fm allows you to see how many people have “favorited” particular tweets of yours on Twitter — a metric that is strangely absent from Twitter’s own site.
  • In the new twitter interface, you can find information on both “conversations” and retweets under the “@ Connect” tab in the black bar across the top of the page.
  • TweetReach helps you gauge the total number of people who were reached by a given tweet, hashtag, or search term.
  • I mentioned that link shorteners provide some handy metrics, and mentioned bit.ly as my example.
  • We spent some time discussing Facebook Insights.  You can find more details about Insights in this Facebook Help Center area.
  • CrowdBooster is a new (to me) and intriguing tool that brings together data about “applause”, “conversation”, and “amplification”  all together in one view — and does some helpful analysis of what times of day bring the most attention and interaction for your posts.
  • Google Alerts allow you to monitor the whole web (beyond just the major social networks) for mentions of your brand, etc.
  • If you’re able to embed the required tracking code in your webpages, Google Analytics can provide you a wealth of information on how visitors arrive at your site, interact with it, and eventually leave it — which can provide very useful information on how your social media efforts are bringing people to your website (if that’s one of your goals).

And here are the articles I recommended for additional reading:

  • Kaushik, A. (2011 Oct 10). Best social media metrics: conversation, amplification, applause, economic value. Occam’s Razor http://bit.ly/wUri2m
  • Mershon, P. (2011 Oct 19). 6 ways to measure your social media results. Social Media Examiner http://bit.ly/wAvz1V
  • Patel, A. (2011 Dec 1). Metrics for social media ROI. Social Media Today http://soc.li/Ie79QOD

We also got a chance to discuss the new University Social Media Directory, the work that’s in progress to create a University Social Media Toolbox, and the new draft statewide social media policy, among other topics.  It was a meeting full of interesting discussion and insights — so thanks to all of you!

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Social media, surgeons and patients

Here’s an excellent insight and guide to social media use by surgeons that appeared in the July 2011 issue of the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons. The authors, including faculty from SUNY Buffalo and GHSU and a healthcare attorney among others, emphasize how important it is for surgeons to participate in conversations about disease and patient care that occur online, where they can engage patients and laypeople, and correct inaccuracies.  They also emphasize the important role of social media as platforms for GME and CME.

Yamout SZ, Glick ZA, Lind DS, Monson RA, Glick PL. Using social media to enhance surgeon and patient education and communication. Bull Am Coll Surg. 2011 Jul;96(7): 7-15. [PMID 22315896]

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Social media in the medical school curriculum

Neil Mehta of Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner College of Medicine just announced that two of his students had presentations on social media in healthcare accepted for the Society of General Internal Medicine Annual Meeting in May 2012.  The titles of the two presentations: “Swimming in the Murky Waters of Social Media? Don’t Let Your White Coat Get Dirty: A Workshop for Medical Students” and “Professionalism in Social Media – Do existing guidelines fail a reality check?”

What’s particularly notable about this is that both presentations grew out of a case-based workshop on professionalism in Social Media that Dr Mehta had built into the curriculum for MS3s (third-year medical students) last May.  Dr Mehta chose a particularly interesting case as the centerpiece of the workshop — a case about which respected and experienced professionals had disagreed and discussed rather passionately — via social media, of course.  Dr Mehta described the case and his plans for the workshop on his own blog.

Social media are an inherent part of the communications tools that current medical students will use as professionals to interact with their colleagues, their patients, and the public at large.  How well are we preparing those students to be successful if our curricula fail to consider these media as part of the healthcare environment?  Dr Mehta has posted a number of interesting observations on his blog on healthcare social media and medical education — I invite you to browse the posts tagged “social media” on his blog.

Congratulations to Dr Mehta and his students for their forward thinking.

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Draft for review: Statewide social media policy

The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) has posted a draft of a proposed Social Media Policy intended to guide state agencies and institutions of higher education in their use of social media tools to conduct official state business and communicate with citizens.

Here at the Health Science Center, we will be gathering input from faculty, staff and students, and submitting a set of comments as an institution.  However, the document appears on DIR’s “Posted for Review” page, and the DIR invites feedback from the public (via email to socialmedia@dir.texas.gov) through March 14, 2012.  So in the interest of promoting discussion and feedback, I am posting the draft here so all of you can check it out.

What do you think?  What strengths and/or concerns do you see?

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More Social Media Grand Rounds

I was very glad to have the opportunity to present with Bridgett Piernik-Yoder at last Friday’s Grand Rounds for the School of Health Professions.  We discussed social media tools and their use in the health professions and education, along with a description of what’s been going on here at the Health Science Center for the past year or so, since PrISM began — and we had some great discussions about what the next steps might be for the SHP and the University as a whole.

Presenting those Grand Rounds reminded me about an excellent item I’ve been meaning to post here, so I’ll do it right now.  Dr Bryan Vartabedian is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine, whose 33 Charts blog is a constant source of thought-provoking and well-considered observations on the use of social media in medicine.  On December 2, 2011, he presented Pediatric Grand Rounds at Texas Children’s Hospital on physicians and social media.  A few days later, he posted a narrative version of his presentation on his 33 Charts blog, under the title “Physicians, Risk and Opportunity in the Digital Age”.  It’s a great piece and highly worthwhile reading for physicians who are both new and experienced in the social media realm.  A few key nuggets I found particularly interesting:

  • “For the better part of modern civilization our role as physician has centered around privileged access to information and knowledge.  But the web has created a type of disintermediation.  Patients can do more on their own.  They can access information and make certain judgments.  They can share information and adjust what they’re doing based on the input of others.   And the physician encounter is evolving as a more narrowly defined element in an individual’s quest to understand their condition and get better.  This health 2.0 element is fueled by social media. So in effect, what we see are a variety of social and technological forces conspiring to redefine the physician.  I believe that how we react professionally to these forces over the next generation will help shape who we become.”
  • “With respect to social media, I see two challenges facing our profession: patient privacy and professionalism. There are others we could identify but I think that these two occupy the minds of those watching doctors in public. Privacy is relatively easy. Professionalism is remarkably difficult. I’ve noticed that health institutions tend to focus on patient privacy almost at the exclusion of professionalism.”
  • “The way to train the next generation is not to prohibit the media but rather to teach how we can live with it as professionals.”
  • “Are physicians morally obligated to participate in social dialog? I first raised this question in 2009 and it generated a lot of dialog.  I’ll submit to you that as physicians we are obligated to create, curate and talk… It’s interesting that as physicians we are the first to criticize what patients read but we’re the last to create it.  Public education is part of our charge.  We have an obligation to do better.”

This question of professionalism and how it plays out in social media space is an area of very active and interesting discussions.  Dr Mark Ryan, a family medicine doctor and assistant professor at VCU, responded to Dr Vartabedian’s Grand Rounds with a blog post of his own.  Dr Ryan agreed with most of Dr Vartabedian’s ideas, but disagreed about some of the nuances of what constitutes professional behavior in a public space like social media.  He notes that professionalism does not always demand restraint; for some, it may also mean more radical transparency, advocacy, and humanity.  He also disputes Dr Vartabedian’s position that anonymous (or pseudonymous) postings online are practically always less effective, less useful and less professional than identified ones:

  • “I do think there can be value in anonymity in certain cases.  What if a physician is criticizing the practices of a major insurer, or their employer?  What if someone wishes to discuss a sensitive personal issue without self-disclosing?  Even if this cloak of secrecy is not foolproof, it can provide a safer space for such discussions.  I think the content of an account will dictate whether or not it is trusted or considered valuable–not just whether or not it is anonymous… Whistle-blowers, agitators, and critics may all have important perspectives and contributions to an issue under discussion, or might call attention to larger problems.  Raising these issues might strike some as unprofessional…raising the question of who will decide professional vs. unprofessional conduct?”

Dr Vartabedian, in turn, continues the dialogue in his comment on Dr Ryan’s post.

I encourage you to read and consider both posts as we think about what professionalism looks like in this new world.  Where do you find yourself on these issues right now?  In what ways does this new reality challenge your comfort zones?

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The UT Health Science Center Social Media Directory

I am very pleased to announce that the UT Health Science Center’s website now includes an official directory of social media channels being used by schools, departments, and other units to support the University’s mission!  It’s easy to find — from the University homepage, choose the “Directories” menu on the left, then “Social Media”.

I really believe a central directory like this one is a great first step in helping departments across the University become more aware of each others’ social media work.  I encourage all social media users at the University — especially those on that list — to follow/like other University channels of interest, and help to amplify each others’ messages by commenting, retweeting, mentioning, liking, and sharing useful and interesting posts across those channels.

Thanks so much to the Office of External Affairs, and particularly to Rene Torres, for all your help in making this a reality.  Please help us continue to keep this directory complete and up-to-date by sending in any updates using the link at the bottom of the directory page.

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Ten Great Strategy Tips

We’ve had a bit of a posting lag on this site over the holidays, but we’re back and hope to share some helpful stuff with you over the coming weeks and months.

An excellent interview appeared yesterday at Healthcare IT News: writer Michelle McNickle interviewed hospital administrator and author Christina Thielst, who blogs at Christina’s Considerations.  Thielst offers ten excellent tips — strategic principles, really — for optimal use of social media in healthcare.  I found her suggestions to be thought-provoking and very appropriate to both beginning and experienced users of social media alike.

Here’s a quick list of her ten tips — see the article for Thielst’s helpful explanations of each point:

  1. Recognize social media as new sources of feedback and opportunities.
  2. Avoid taking on too much, too soon.
  3. Recognize and manage the risks.
  4. Recognize opportunities for improving health and outcomes, and social media’s ability to contribute to longitudinal health and documentation.
  5. Use it to enhance the patient experience.
  6. Recognize social media as an opportunity to improve experiences and quality.
  7. Integrate social media into day-to-day work processes to keep it “real.”
  8. Use social media to provide information and content.
  9. Ensure appropriate privacy settings and safeguards on your sponsored social networking channels.
  10. Find ways to offer appropriate social supports using social media.

Personally, I was particularly struck by Thielst’s emphasis on sincerity and spontaneity, especially in points #6 and #7.  Healthcare organizations may be tempted to view social media as simply another PR channel, and therefore may try to manage risk and workload by putting out one-way, scripted, formulaic messages.  Such an approach is doubly harmful —  the organization not only makes itself appear arrogant or out-of-touch, but by refusing to listen and engage with patients or caregivers, the organization also misses out on a critically important source of insight on how they can meet customer needs.

Which of Thielst’s tips do you find particularly insightful — or particularly challenging?

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