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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Jul 10 2011   9:37PM GMT

Should health care organizations get ready for Google +?

Posted by: RedaChouffani
Google +, Health care applications and vendor organizations, HITsm, Social media

As the number of social networking sites available continues to grow, many organizations are experiencing a love/hate relationship with these now seemingly standard social media mediums. While many have already begun to harness the power and reach that these new networking portals provide, connecting with current customers and helping to reach new ones in ways they couldn’t before, others see some of these sites as distractions if used in the wrong way, i.e. employee abuse of sites impacting productivity.

But the proof is in the pudding, or at least that’s what we’re seeing unfold in the health care market, where it is becoming increasingly easy to leverage the benefits that social networking sites have to offer, increase communication and engagement, and begin meaningful dialog. And as new features and platforms continue to become available, organizations must be ready to evaluate and decide if/how to integrate these as part of their strategic marketing plan.  It is also critical to always be focusing on introducing new members into your network and as active participants on the sites, as people want to be part of something of which their peers are also a part and in which they find value.

This holds especially true to sites such as Google +, which is currently only offered to a lucky few and offers similar functionality Facebook. And while there is definitely some functionality issues and features missing in Google +, such as business pages, games, and survey questions, Google does provide native support for real-time chat from the Android platform, and soon, possibly iOS, too (app has been submitted to Apple for approval).

And while these sites are mostly selling ad space to survive, there is another side of these social sites that has been used at the enterprise-level that allows coworkers to connect and collaborate. One product that has been successful at doing this is Chatter. So, if we look at what Google has previously done with some of their products (i.e., Google Docs) it may likely offer this as a service to be used within their organization.

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