If You Weren’t Convinced Before – Mobile Health is Growing!

4 05 2011

Over and over again in this blog I have talked about the growth of mobile health. From the activity on Twitter, to the invention of new products, to physicians’ adaptation of smart phones; all have proved that mobile health is the newest trend and sure to be the future of the industry. Now MobileMarketingWatch has released a study that further backs up this claim. Not only does it show that the useage of smartphones amount physicians is soaring but also that healthcare professionals are turning to mobile devices to read the latest news in their industry. Between June 2010 and February 2011, mobile consumption of medical news climbed 45 percent. Three in ten healthcare professional now access the daily medical information contained in their briefings on mobile platforms.

With those numbers produced in the past year, combined with the predictions of smartphone usage growing among physicians in the second half of 2011, we can only expect the number of physicians using social media for their daily medical information to grow even more rapidly. As a person that strongly supports the adaption of social media in the healthcare industry these statistics give me so much hope. To see such extreme numbers in one year makes me think for the first time that maybe the healthcare industry is not as far behind the times as everyone thinks. Go #mhealth!


So How Much is Mobile Health Really Growing?

30 04 2011

I recently wrote a post about the growth of mobile health featuring GE’s newest product Vscan and the possibilities that opened up. Although it is very apparent that the use of smart phones is growing, how much is it really growing in the healthcare industry? Are doctors really adapting the use and are they willing to spend time on social media sites to give patients information?

Despite many people saying that this is a process that will take some time as the industry tries to figure out how to compensate physicians for the time they spend consulting online, mobihealthnews has different statistics. This week, the website that focuses on keeping track and reporting the healthcare sector’s adoption of mobile technology, has come out with a survey reporting that by the end of 2011 61 percent of physicians will be using iPhones, another 9 percent will use Android smart phones and 9 percent will use a Blackberry.

Only 39 percent of physicians owned an iPhone at the beginning of 2011, which shows tremendous growth. Although these statics do not show anything about the likelihood of doctors using their smartphones in their practice we can assume that as more physicians become comfortable with the new technology, the faster they will adapt to mobile health.

YouTube to Teaching Doctors Surgical Skills

25 04 2011

Well not yet, but are we headed in that direction? After hearing Dr. Kevin Pho talk at our “Harnessing Social Media in Healthcare Communications” event a couple weeks ago I have been checking his blog KevinMD.com regularly. I just came across an extremely interesting article he had posted from Martin Young titled “Can doctors learn surgical skills on YouTube and Facebook.” Young, a self-taught musician often turns to the internet for lessons to learn the bass guitar when he began wondering if the same approach could be taken with surgery. After a search on YouTube and Google he concluded that there were no videos of that sort out there yet but should there be?

I think there should be for many of the same reasons as Young. Yes, you could never teach intuition or actual medical procedures through a video and if I was laying on a table I would not want my doctor to have graduated from the self-taught medical school of YouTube, but for techniques I feel there should definitely be videos. I am actually extremely surprised there are not already. Through this blog I have chronicled the importance of doctors sharing their knowledge with one another and how social media has helped them do it. I feel this is just another way for doctors to share their tips and watching a doctor do procedures, other physicians will be able to pick up things they never could in a text book. I hope this is something we see come out in the very near future.


20 04 2011

Just type “#mhealth” in the search bar on Twitter and you are sure to get pages full of results.


Mobile health is always a popular topic and is sure to continue to grow that way. The use of smartphones continues to grow each month and as more doctors start to adopt them into their lives there is more of a chance  to get them to communicate with patients through social media channels if they are easily accessible.


Mobile phone are not the only form of mobile health however. In the article

Medicine on the Move” by Stephanie Simon the Vscan (pictured to the right)
produced by GE Healthcare is introduced. This $8,000, pocket-size machine, can completely change the way any doctor takes a heartbeat. Dr. Topol, a San Diego cardiologist who is the chief academic officer for Scripps Health, now carries this around with him instead of his stethoscope saying “why would I listen to a ‘lub dub’ when I can see everything.”


Dr. Topol is extremely positive when it comes to talking about the Vscan, saying this device along with other new mobile health products can only improve patient treatment. They can simplify tests, monitor stats, verify that medications are being taken, and more importantly decrease face-to-face patient visits without decreasing patient care.


Looking at this device and hearing the positive reviews it gives me only a lot of hope for the future of medicine but it also makes me question why so many physicians are so hesitant to adapt these new technologies. It seems that although the initial investment may be significant, in the long run it will not only increase patient care but also decrease costs. Do you have any theories on why physicians would be so hesitant?


Implement a Social Media Strategy – What’s the ROI?

18 04 2011

Measuring ROI for social media is the one thing marketers have been trying to figure out since we have started using it. We know using social media works, we know it is reaching our target audience, but unlike magazine ads or commercial spots on TV, it is almost impossible to measure. Some like to measure it based on “fans” or “followers.” Others look to those they are actively engaging with. Three hospitals have now come out with distinct approaches on how to measure exactly how much money social media channels are bringing into their hospitals.

Nick Dawson, interim administrative director of community engagement at Bon Secours Hospital use Twitter for referrals by directly responding to patients who are looking for a Bon Secours doctor, using search functions to find people on Twitter who may need a doctor, and posting on their Twitter page they are here to help.  It is their social media team that calls patients and sets up appointments when the patient contacts their Twitter handle, which allows them to track social media referrals.  They put everyone into a program and within twenty seconds Dawson can tell whether or not a patient was referred to Bon Secours Hospital via a social media channel.

Inova Health System measures social media ROI through a customer relationship management system. They recently used this system to track the ROI of their Fit for 50 wellness campaign. The program used videos on their website along with Facebook and Twitter to inspire people to live healthier lives. The CRM gave them information about each patient and allowed them to see the patients that had no relationship with Inova prior to the Fit for 50 social media campaign but continued to comeback after the program ended.

Although both of these hospitals used their programs to track long term results a Swedish Medical Center focused a on measuring the ROI of a one night event. They administrated a live of a patient’s overnight sleep-disorder test and answered questions via Twitter. The program had 10,000 people interacting directly with Swedish physicians and 5.5 million media impressions. They had an exact formula for measuring ROI: (money earned from the program – the amount spent to promote it) / the cost of the promotion =  ROI

Although these are three very distinct ways of measuring ROI it gives communication directors a couple different options for what would work best for their hospital and give them a better shot at convincing the board of trustees that a social media campaign is a worthwhile investment. The more concrete numbers they are able to provide the better and as more people are able to be convinced that social media will give hospitals tremendous ROI the faster we can have these strategies implemented. I feel that this is where healthcare needs to be heading and I am anxious to see how more hospitals use the technology that is available to them. I just wish the industry wasn’t so slow in adapting to everything.

Highly Regulated Market? How to Leverage Social Media

16 04 2011

Today I came across a very interesting article while on Twitter, Leveraging Social Media in Regulated Industries. Although it is a little updated I still found it very prevalent. Jason Falls says, the four key tenants of brand behavior for social media success challenged by guidelines and restrictions in these industries are:

  • Companies have to be honest.
  • They should be as transparent in their approach to consumers as possible.
  • Responsiveness is absolutely imperative.
  • Companies must engage their publics in conversations around their products and services.

He states that the biggest problem for healthcare companies are that they get hundreds of tweets and it is hard to respond to all of them in real-time when only certain people have permission to talk and all messages have to pre-approved in a system that sometimes can take 3-4 weeks.

Falls states the way to successfully implement a social media campaign for any regulated market is that you have to get support from above, you need C-level employees to stand behind all social media initiatives or it will never take off. Secondly you must work closely with the compliance staff or legal team, help them understand what it is that you are trying to accomplish so they are better able to help you. The next step is to educate. Everyone in the company must understand it. The C-level and legal team should already be clued in at this point but if not, you need to work to educate them again. Make sure everyone in the company understands what exactly you’re doing and make sure there are strict social media policies set. Then it’s time to approach review and approval as a team. You cannot have one person monitoring all blog comments, company forums, tweets, and Facebook posts at once but it helps to have multiple individuals responsible to work in moderation so someone is always available. His final piece of advice is to develop short review timelines and definitive outcomes. Decide how fast you expect responses, how many posts you want to see per week, and who should be doing what and then monitor it on a timely basis.

Implementing a new social media campaign in any company is hard but implementing one in an industry that is as highly regulated as the healthcare industry is even more difficult. This is the reason that healthcare always seems to lag behind other industries when it comes to technology. By more healthcare professionals and companies taking Falls advice, I think we could see many more successful implementations of social media plans.

Tufts Medical Center; taking on a whole new kind of social media

11 04 2011

While driving to work the other day I heard a commercial for something I found very interesting, tuftsmedicalcenter.tv. I checked it out immediately upon returning home and was ecstatic to find another healthcare company using technology and social media channels to communicate with patients. Not only do they have different health channels so that patients can look directly into certain diseases but they also have live podcasts, a medical myth section, and a place for patients to request an appointment. You are able to subscribe to the videos through your myyahoo, google, or apple account.

TuftsMedicalCenter.tv makes it easy for patients to communicate with them by having links directly to their email. They also provide easy links to the Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube channels which have 2,300 fans between them who are encouraged to post comments and receive feedback.

By providing these videos, patients are able to make less trips to the doctors to answer simple questions. Also by allowing the patients to communicate with doctors as they search for information over the internet there is less of a chance of them being misinformed and trying to self diagnose which is increasingly popular with sites such as WebMD that are simply throwing information at patients rather than opening a conversation.

By opening lines of communication I feel it will really lead to a healthier world. Patients will not see talking to their doctors as an intimidating experience if they are able to do it more often on an informal basis. HealthTV may just be the future. The possibilities that technology has opened up for us are unbelievable.