When it comes to social networking, few health care organizations have been as active as the Mayo Clinic, which recorded its first podcast five years ago and launched its Twitter account way back in 2008. Through its social media efforts, the clinic has seen researchers improve collaboration, and patients reach out to physicians and to each other, according to a recent piece on the website of American Medical News.
The organization now is taking things one step further with a new Center for Social Media, based at its Rochester, Minn., hub. The clinic will help other health care organizations develop a social media strategy through in-person and online training, consulting services, conferences and resources.
To be honest, it’s an interesting idea. Resources for developing a social media strategy abound on the Web. However, only a few address the issues of social media security that matter most to health care organizations, from data privacy to doctor-patient confidentiality.
Nevertheless, those Web resources are free, whereas the Center for Social Media will charge its clients, based on their size. On the other hand, providers may prefer advice on developing a social media strategy from a trusted source, such as the Mayo Clinic, to free advice from a random stranger.
In any event, the demand is there. Research cited by American Medical News suggests that more than half of doctors would like to use social networking to their advantage, but fewer than one in six U.S. hospitals have any sort of social media presence. Those lagging behind will find that setting up accounts is a piece of cake compared to developing and maintaining a consistent, coherent presence. For them, a crash course from the Mayo Clinic may be just what they need.