At HIMSS10, social media was a hot topic that was discussed by several hospital systems and physician groups. How do you leverage social media to improve patient satisfaction? Does social media allow physicians to improve communication with employees and patients? How should you handle a disgruntled patient who complains on a social media channel like Facebook or Twitter? If a patient gets very upset, he/she may go to the media or may even post things on a blog. That wouldn't be easy to diffuse, would it? By using social media, you may have the opportunity to communicate with unhappy patients so that you can work with them to resolve their issues before things explode.
Every time I mention the topic of social media to my physician colleagues, they seem to focus on the negative aspects of social media. They talk about their concerns regarding privacy and don't seem to be interested in leveraging social media to their benefit.
As more hospitals and health systems embrace social media, I'm sure we'll see even more discussions about social media next year at HIMSS10. Does your institution know how to use social media? Do you have a social media policy? I'm currently working on a social media policy for a large organization and hope to share that once it's completed. Most groups and organizations are willing to share their social media policies with the world (it follows the open spirit of social media).
Special thanks to HP for sponsoring me to blog about HIMSS10.