Mayo Clinic Plans to Build the First Healthcare Social Media Center

MayoClinic pic2Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota

By Kimberly Reyes (@CommDuCoeur)

Designed to “spur broader and deeper engagement in social media by hospitals, medical professionals and patients,” the healthcare industry’s most famous non-profit, The Mayo Clinic, breaks ground yet again by announcing its plans to open The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, a social media education and training facility.

Details will soon be released about this major effort to improve health literacy and implement social media as a standard outlet for communication both internally for Mayo staff and in health institutions worldwide. The center will build upon The Mayo Clinic’s existing initiatives within social media that includes a popular YouTube channel, a large following on both Twitter and Facebook, and 12 different blogs that cater to specific health issues.

Here are the services the center plans to offer:

  • Online and in-person training – includes workshops and webinars on how to use various social media tools
  • Consultations – experts will work with organizations on determining social media strategy and implementation
  • Conferences and events – bring together thought leaders with varied perspectives and areas of expertise
  • Resources – production of white papers, best practices, policies, etc. to guide social media efforts

In the Wall Street Journal’s interview with Lee Aase, the manager of syndication and social media at Mayo had this to say about the value of HCPs learning and engaging with social media despite their busy schedules: “This is building on the interest that weve already had. There is immense interest from clinical departments ¢‚Ǩ” they want to be able to harness these tools to do their business. We want to create a curriculum thats scalable and enables us to provide them with training when they want it.”

Mayo Clinic’s Enhanced by ZemantaDr. Victor Monotori has been especially vocal about using social media to strengthen the relationship between doctors and patients, and heads up Mayo’s Center for Social Media as its medical director. In a video statement on Mayo’s YouTube channel, Dr. Montori discussed how doctors “rely on the voice of the patient…to improve the way we do our work. We have used patient concerns to identify new things – new concerns, new problems, new diseases, new treatments. It’s by listening to the patients that many innovations in healthcare take place. What a wonderful opportunity to make that voice louder through the use of social media!”

In various news coverage, Dr. Montori also emphasizes that deeper engagement in social media by healthcare professionals drives a more patient-centric attitude towards delivering healthcare – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, contrary to how some doctors feel about the e-patient movement. He adds, “in the future, health care becomes seamless, becomes part of the way they interact with other components of their life.”

Per Bryan Vartabedian, MD’s blog 33Charts, the opening of Mayo Clinic’s Center for Social Media is significant in that it acknowledges that social media is not simply “an experiment, but an expected standard in both education and research.” The Center offers tremendous opportunity to not just optimize healthcare communications, but to also unify healthcare professionals in tackling some of the hard-hitting issues, such as privacy, research, and emerging technologies.

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