Health IT Pulse

Feb 21 2011   12:15PM GMT

Health care social media: Do it now, says HIMSS 2011 speaker

Don Fluckinger Profile: Don Fluckinger

HIMSS 2011
Lee Aase
social media

ORLANDO, Fla. — Although the Mayo Clinic is definitely on the cutting edge of social media in health care, it took a British rock band to push the hospital from considering it to doing it, said Lee Aase, manager of syndication and social media, in a “View from the Top” address here at HIMSS 2011.

That’s because when the hospital decided to kick off its social media efforts a few years ago, it realized that this rock band — which went by the name “Mayo Clinic” — owned the MySpace page for the name, complete with a large graphic of a crazy dude sitting in an electric chair.

“We were in MySpace whether we really liked it or not,” said Aase wryly, as the slide came up for the viewing audience, to big laughs. “That’s an image we usually like associated with our brand!”

After that, Mayo Clinic decided it didn’t want “that MySpace thing” to happen on other sites, and scooped up Twitter and Facebook IDs before squatters could grab them.

Aase’s point? Social media might be nebulous when it comes to determining return on investment, and might be something hospitals aren’t making a priority right now. But the fact is, it’s happening whether they want it or not. If you don’t control your message about your facility that is broadcast internationally — in an instant — someone else will, like guitar-wielding blokes from the UK who might not share the same worldview as your marketing head.

Aase pointed to some resources that can help IT managers and marketing staffs justify their social media efforts — such as his 35 theses for engaging in social media — as well as some examples of what he and his colleagues are doing, at the SMUG blog.

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