One of my favorite things about HIMSS 2010 was the active social media conversations occurring around the meeting. A number of sessions gained an active conversation in the audience as the presentations were underway – sharing key insights, posing questions to one another and posting links to information being referenced by presenters.
One of the key changes undertaken by the HIMSS social media crew was to move from a proprietary social networking tool used in years past to the places where attendees are already engaging: Facebook, LinkedIN and Twitter.
In addition to several educational sessions on Social Networking and Health 2.0, HIMSS held several “meet the blogger” sessions, allowing people to hear and interact with high profile healthcare IT bloggers/tweeters. Needless to say, these sessions received some of the most intensive social media interaction between attendees.
Some of the “meet the blogger” participants are people I’ve known for awhile, such as John Sharp (Blog: http://ehealth.johnwsharp.com/ Twitter:www.twitter.com/johnsharp) and Brian Ahier (blog: http://ahier.blogspot.com/ Twitter: www.twitter.com/ahier). And there were some great folks who I’ve followed for some time and interacted with, but never met in person, such as TheEHRGuy www.twitter.com/TheEHRGuy and ePatientDave www.twitter.com/epatientdave. It was an odd feeling to realize that I haven’t met some of these people, but I feel a personal connection with them after months of interacting with them online. I was happily able to remedy that situation with several of my favorite bloggers.
Social media has certainly been an active topic at conferences over the past year. At shows like SHSMD or PRSA Health Academy, the focus of social media discussion is primarily on how this can be used as a tool for communication by the organization. Being that this is HIMSS, the discussion centered more heavily around possible applications for patient care, policy development, what services facilities are allowing or blocking on their internal networks, and managing risks.
A few key takeaways:
- You are on social media. You may choose not to listen. You may choose not to participate in the conversation. Still, others are talking about you.
- Better to be proactive. Listen, monitor, set policies, train and communicate.
- Despite growth in adoption, social media channels still only used by a small number of hospitals routinely.
- Blocking social networking sites is dissatisfying for patient families.
Several facilities were kind enough to share many details about their social media policies
- Mayo Clinic Social media policy http://tinyurl.com/bra56t
- Cleveland Clinic social media policy http://bit.ly/c9btwV
- Cleveland Clinic also allows access to social media from within their organization with the exception of streaming video. The concern with video is strictly one of the bandwidth needs of their EMR.
- In contrast to these relatively open organizations, many are not. For an example see this announcement from the University of Iowa Health Care two weeks ago: http://www.press-citizen.com/article/20100226/NEWS01/100226015/UIHC-to-block-Facebook-access