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HCSM Review - call for submissions

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You people are voracious consumers of web content. Admit it, you’d read healthcare sites and blogs in your sleep if you could. By the flood of amazing sources in my tweeter feed every morning, I’m convinced some of you actually do. Since we know sharing is caring, we’ve established the HCSM Blog Review just for you.

Here’s how this works. Send me links to posts you’ve read recently with no more than three sentences on why the post made an impact. It’s ok if you love the post or want to disagree with it. Send it my way and, if it fits our theme, it will get included.

For this edition of the Review, I would like to focus on patient experience, design and innovation (in care models, service offerings, hcsm itself, etc). How is hcsm facilitating and improving patient experience? How can the social web impact design in healthcare?

So, what are you waiting for, make with the links already!

How to submit:

Leave a comment in the comments section of this post with your name, a link for you (twitter, web site, etc), a link to the post you what to feature and no more than three sentences on what you found compelling about the post.

If you prefer, you can also email your submissions to: nd {at] nickdawson (period) net

Then, check back here on 6/13/2012 for the official roundup.

what are your employees' trending topics?

Did you watch the Grammys this year? According to Twitter:

  • People sent 10,901 Tweets per second (TPS) as Adele won Record of the Year — the peak TPS moment of the night.
  • “Grammys” was mentioned in more than 5 million Tweets on Sunday between noon and midnight PT.
  • The most mentioned artists (in descending order) during that same 12-hour period were: @OfficialAdele, @ChrisBrown, @NickiMinaj, @Rihanna, Whitney Houston
What about the Super Bowl?
This year, the TPS peak was 12,233 Tweets. The spike took place in the final three minutes of the game, during which fans sent an average of 10,000 TPS. Madonna’s performance during halftime was a big hit, too—there was an average of 8,000 TPS sustained during her performance, with a peak of 10,245 Tweets.

Twitter has this concept of "trending topics". Simply put, when enough people are talking about the same thing at the same time, it is said to be trending. Twitter gives programmers some ability to slice and dice trending data. You can see what is trending in a local area, or at a specific time.

Trending topics serve a few crucial roles. First, they alert us to macro conversations and sentiments. In that regard, they are like instant focus groups on global interests, needs, concerns, and celebrations. The Broncos' inspired over 9,000 tweets per second. People went wild when Tim Tebow threw that winning pass. According to Mashable, twitter users mourned Whitney Houston's passing nearly 30 minutes before the news media shared the story.

The other day, a coworker suggested an idea which knocked my socks off. What if we could see the trending topics inside the organization? What if we could compare what the organization was talking about last year to this year? Could we learn to predict conversations and react to them - employee needs, concerns, excitements, joys?

That may be the single best ROI for an internal social media platform I've ever heard.

Google publishes their zeitgeist every year. It's a recap of the most popular searches. In 2010, the world was looking for information on the World Cup, the BP oil spill, Justin Beiber and iPads. In 2011 it was Rebecca Black, Battlefield 3 and Steve Jobs. Do all of those names or terms sound familiar? I bet your employees are also talking about things you might not be aware of.

Can you pull the same data on your organization? What were employees talking about in 2010? What kinds of information are they looking for today?

Leaders may want to say yes, of course, in 2010 we were going through a merger, I remember the messaging well. Others might point to employee satisfaction surveys. But those ideas are different. The Google and Twitter examples are grass roots data. They are reflective of the larger population, what the front lines are thinking and talking about.

I particularly like thinking about how internal trending topics might impact culture. During the Arhab Spring, words like Egypt and freedom trended. Those topics became more than news, they were rally cries for the feet on the ground. Would employees voice their ideas, creating a new vision for the organization? Trending topics could be a powerful tool for positive change within companies.

What can hospitals learn from Mr Rogers?

Won't you be my neighbor?  (Part 1) Mr. Rogers got it. Here was a man that kicked off every show by asking the audience to be his neighbor. He was literally genuflect when asking us all to be his friends (he was also clearly a fan of comfortable footwear). Fred Rogers may have understood social media and the importance of relationships in brand building long before any of us. And he also clearly understood that being humble and earning the friendship he asked for paid much greater dividends than telling his audience what to think. So why are healthcare organizations and physicians not doing the same thing?

In Social Pulse, I suggested that healthcare organizations might actually ask their patients, staff and physicians to be their friend. It sounds easy and perhaps even a tad juvenile (medicine is far too serious work for such pedestrian language). But without that invitation healthcare organizations will never gain the traction with social media that thought leaders are touting today.

Jumping into the world of social media is often a splash of cold water to the corporate face. Just because you build it does not mean they will come. As Steven Barley, head of internet services for Riverside Health System in Norfolk Virginia, states frankly: The reality is not everyone in your market is on FaceBook and even fewer still are on Twitter. So how can healthcare organizations encourage the conversation to take place online when only a fraction of their markets are online? Borrow a page from Mr. Rogers - and ask very simply "will you be our friend?"

Imagine a campaign that asks that very question, "Will you be our friend?" on billboards around town, on flyers in staff break rooms and in an email to physicians. Maybe its nebulas, "join the discussion at GenericHospital.com/friends" which directs your new amis to the CEO's blog and the hospital's twitter account. It could also be more overt - "Generic Hospital is on FaceBook, look us up and tell us how we are doing". Does it mean taking off the jacket in favor of the cardigan (proverbially speaking)? Yeah, it does, it also means speaking to people they way conversations occur, not in the vernacular of a press release. It requires healthcare organizations to humble themselves; indeed the first step is admitting that you may not be as important in your constituents' lives as you think. But if your organization believes that you truly serve your community (including employees and physicians) then why not ask on bended knee - "will you be our friend?"

Fortunately it may not take getting your entire market online to be a success. A critical mass may be as little as 2-5% of a market (1,600-4,000 patients for an average 80,000 vist/year hospital). Malcom Gladwell, the author with a genius for making commonsense sound extraordinary, has written about the power of influencers in The Tipping Point. Gladwell tells us what marketers have known since the dawn of time: nothing beats word of mouth.  Most social media early adopters fit the mold for what Gladwell calls "connectors" and "mavens". The former are people who have a natural ability and pride in facilitating relationships. We all know them. They are the ones who answer anything with "oh, you should talk to my friend So-and-so about that, I'll arrange a lunch." The later, mavens, are our friends who always seem to know about the best meal in town, or which computer has the best bang for the buck. If you have spent any time 'crowd sourcing' on Twitter, then you have seen both personalities in action. If a healthcare organization reaches 2-5% of its market through social media, and that 2-5% are mostly connectors and mavens, then imagine the conversations they may have on your behalf. All of the sudden you have an army of powerful influencers in your community who are ready to help you own the perception.

Healthcare organizations (and I'm counting physician practices in that group), starting thinking "What would Mr. Rogers do?". Invite your communities and constituents to join you in a conversation. As patients, and we are all potential patients, see out ways to engage with your care providers. If your provider is not interested in a two way dialogue consider what that says about them as an organization. A neighborhood is, by definition, a community and a community cares about one another.

I hope you will be my neighbor - twitter.com/nickdawson

The Patient Patient - why being cared for & about wins every time

I had intended to write a different post this week; when I speak to healthcare groups I often use what I have dubbed as my 'airline analogy'. However from where I am seated it just does not feel appropriate. For starters I am at 35,000 feet somewhere over the midwest. That in itself is not unremarkable- I am no stranger to travel. However, this is the first time that I have flown with crutches and an immobilizing leg brace.


The last week was supposed to be our annual ski trip. Let me avoid mincing words by saying that its the week I most look forward to in the year; I work towards the trip all year. Unfortunately this year my professional and personal life were more woven together than I would have cared for.

On the first day our our trip I took a fall that was substantial enough to sever the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and damage the meniscus of my left knee in two places. In short, a total blowout. Endorphins and poorly placed ego got me off the mountain under my own power, but the next day things where pretty banged up. My knee was well over twice the size that it should have been and my range of motion was almost zero.

I spent most of Monday in the Steadman-Hawkins Orthopedic Clinic in the Vail Valley

Medical Center. The name Steadman-Hawkins may not be familiar, but the roster of patients would make any sports fan's head swim. The corridor from the elevator to the clinic door (ironically long for a place that specializes in busted joints) is covered with

jerseys, posters, notes and pictures. Chances are that if a pro athlete has suffered an orthopedic injury in the last 10 years, they were probably treated at Steadman-Hawkins.

MRI 2

You are probably asking yourself how an amateur skier got in the door. More on that later.

Every Sunday night there is a group of healthcare and marketing professionals and enthusiasts who use Twitter as a chat-room. Using the 'hashtag' #healthcomm we spend an hour discussing ideas surrounding social media and healthcare. It's fast paced and intense and I always come out thinking about some topic differently. Recently the discussion was about how patients find their care - physicians, hospitals, etc - and what makes a difference.

Many of us who work in hospitals believe strongly in rankings, awards and recognitions. I've written before about the Healthcare Highway in Richmond. Billboards flaunt "Top 100 cardiac care" and "best place to have a baby". But at the end of the day what do those lines really mean? Who said you are a top 100 cardio hospital? Are they objective, are they national and most importantly does a patient really care?

A few facts: in most hospitals, 80% of patients come in through the ER. Those that have non-urgent surgery or deliver babies are usually directed to a hospital by their physician. In other words, most patients do not pick their hospital. When it comes to physicians the story is pretty similar. People are influenced by word of mouth for their primary physician but how do people find a specialist? According to the American College of Surgeons more than one-third of Americans do no research at all. Those who do research their surgeon spend less than one hour doing so (compared to four hours planning a vacation).

I consider myself fortunate and not just in the sense that I will make a full recovery. Though personal and professional connections I was able to get a same-day appointment at Steadman-Hawkins. Most people would go to the ER and while I am confident that they would still receive excellent care, I am doubtful that it would have been as personal as my visit was. After the consult I had a choice: surgery with a world-renound physician or travel home where I could recuperate in more comfortable surroundings. There is a lot to be said for having surgery at home, from followup care to sleeping in your own bed. The challenge was finding an orthopedic surgeon in Richmond that I would have the same level of confidence in. This is where working for a health system has its advantages. Not only am in the less than one-third who does research their care, I have the professional skill set to wade through the nonsense and the acquired confidence to push through the red tape. I know the difference between an orthopedic fellowship in one place and a residency at another. I have no problem insisting to speak to doctor's nurse rather than waiting for a call-back that may never come. And when push comes to shove, I know first hand the financial ramifications for me, the physician and insurance. At the end of the day, what made the difference was speaking to a doctor in Richmond. This particular surgeon, either through coaching or personal gift, made a real and genuine connection. Here was someone that I knew could care for me and who had made a point to care about me. That is a winner every time.

There is no profound take-away here, just a recognition of a few things. Saying that you are number one may not mean as much as we think. There is no doubt that it strengthens employee engagement, and that is a great thing. But for most patients, the billboards have very little impact. I have discussed on this site the relevance of The Cluetrain Manifesto. That work suggests that a personal connection goes further than anything else in impacting markets. Furthermore, as social networks level the playing field across the powder-distance index, it makes it eve easier for patients to build that relationship. Post a comment on a forums about a bad physician and there will be an impact, even if the doc is unaware. Say something great and patients will beat a path to their door (look at Steadman-Hawkins). When the physicians take the time to reenforce those positive statements by making a personal connections it will always be a success. Providers need to participate in that relationship by making sure the image they cultivate is one that makes sense to patients and employees, not just industry insiders.

As patients, we have to realize that the power is already in our hands. The ACS suggests that If you were going to spend $1,000 on vacation you would take the time to make an informed decision. Shouldn't we do at least that much when it comes to our health? Being cared for and about has two components- clinical quality and real human caring. If you cannot get the information or response, demand it. Not sure what the federal quality measures on the hospital's site means? Ask until you get an answer you are satisfied with. If you sense physician or the hospital does not care about you personally, go some place else. What does it say about a doctor who discourages patients from discussing their care? Do your homework and make sure you are being cared for and cared about.