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:
- Recognize social media as new sources of feedback and opportunities.
- Avoid taking on too much, too soon.
- Recognize and manage the risks.
- Recognize opportunities for improving health and outcomes, and social media’s ability to contribute to longitudinal health and documentation.
- Use it to enhance the patient experience.
- Recognize social media as an opportunity to improve experiences and quality.
- Integrate social media into day-to-day work processes to keep it “real.”
- Use social media to provide information and content.
- Ensure appropriate privacy settings and safeguards on your sponsored social networking channels.
- 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?