Blog Carnival Social Media

HealthCare Social Media Review #11

Welcome to the 11th installment of the HealthCare Social Media Review, the blog circus that features the latest posts and thought leadership from some of the leading bloggers in our business. This week’s theme is “the role of  disruptive thinking in healthcare social media.” My thanks to all of you who submitted posts for this edition, and to David Harlow and Joan Justice (HCSM Review Sherpas) for guiding me through this process.

Now that I’ve dispensed with the formalities, let’s get started…


If you believe that disruptive thinking can lead to innovation and progress, then you have to love some of the conversations that having been taking place recently in the healthcare social media realm. Dike Drummond, MD wrote a disruptive post suggesting that physicians should avoid social media because it simply adds stress to their lives and provides no real return on investment. The original post by Dr. Drummond was covered in an earlier edition of the HCSM Review and elicited responses recently from a number of individuals include Howard Luks, MD and yours truly. Completing the circle, Dr. Drummond then posted his own response. It is my belief that exchanges like this are helping to advance HCSM beyond those social media 101 conversations that have been going on for several years now.

Last week, Phil Baumann, one of the truly authentic voices in healthcare social media and a man who is not afraid to speak his mind, wrote a post on his Health Is Social Blog titled “The Over-promising of Healthcare Social Media.” The headline alone sounds disruptive! Delving into Phil’s post we learn his perspective on the promises that are being oversold. They include the promise of increased ROI, improved outcomes and better provider-patient relations. Phil acknowledges that social and digital media can have an impact on all of these areas, but warns us to “be careful about the dopaminergic effects of these trinkets on our minds – and on our perceptions of their true promises on their impacts on Healthcare.” This is provocative stuff and I have only touched the surface.

Speaking of being disruptive, ePatient Dave stirred things up on the blog with his post titled “Hey Lurkers – – hi! Step right up, speak up here!” Dave deBronkart, a strong voice in the participatory medicine movement (S4PM), speaks out against sideline lurkers who hide in the shadows and make judgements about the conversations being held on the S4PM’s members-only email group (archives are public). One of the things I love about this post from ePatient Dave is the conversation that follows in the comments section of the blog. What ensues is a thoughtful exchange of perspectives and a sharing of opinions, out in the open, for all to see. That’s exciting and made possible by someone’s willingness to be disruptive.

In his Respectful Insolence Blog, David Gorski, MD, a surgeon who blogs under the name Orac, pulls no punches in his post titled “Naturopathic cancer treatments versus reality.” One of the challenges presented by the proliferation of social platforms is the corresponding proliferation of health information with no quality control. We can all agree that not all health information on the Web is good health information. And it is sometimes difficult to tell the quackery and pseudoscience from the quality health content. In his post, Dr. Gorski launches into a tirade against one specific purveyor of natural cancer therapies. With significant numbers of patients and family members turning to the web for answers and support, this is an important conversation.

The Voice of the ePatient

One of my current regrets is that the patient’s voice is not more present within healthcare marketing circles. It is not unusual to attend healthcare marketing conferences and find no patients on the speaker panels. Interestingly, physicians are also notably absent from many of these events. So, it is exciting to see physicians and patients finding their voice (and an audience) through health care social media.

For several months I’ve been following a series of ePatient posts on Stanford School of Medicine‘s Scope Blog. In collaboration with Inspire, a company that builds and manages online support communities for patients and caregivers, Stanford is opening up its blog once a month and inviting a patient to tell his or her unique story. These are patients whose lives have been affected by a serious or rare illness. Here’s a link to the latest installment, but I recommend reading all of the patient posts.

I’ve recently discover Regrounding, a patient blog written by Lori, a breast cancer survivor and a woman who has learned to thrive in the face of adversity. Her latest post, “Potayto, Potahto,” does a remarkable job discussing the power of words and their impact within the breast cancer community/blogosphere. Acknowledging that choosing the right words is difficult (when speaking to people undergoing cancer treatment), Lori closes her post by saying: “Your willingness to stand still, in the face of the discomfort wrought by knowing we have cancer, and still offer your own vulnerability, transcends words.” From my perspective, in our business nothing has more value than the voice of the patient – a perspective from which we can all benefit.

The Social Physician

This post has already hit upon a few physicians who were early adopters of social media: Howard Luks, MD, David Gorski, MD, and Dike Drummond, MD. Another thought leader in this realm is Dr. Bryan Vartabedian. His blog, 33 Charts, is on my list of must read healthcare blogs.  In one of his recent posts, Bryan tackles an issue that has troubled me for some time – supposed social media experts who don’t use social media. He talks about attending a social media panel presentation where one of the panelists was not active on social media. He then describes the backchannel conversations that took place via social media during this individual’s presentation. As Bryan points out, “anyone claiming authority of any kind can be cross-checked before the lights are even dim.” And if you’re a speaker, you have to know that those backchannel conversations will be taking place during your presentation, for better or worse.

If you’re not familiar with Kent Bottles, MD, he brings to healthcare social media the voice of a philosopher and scholar. His Private Views blog is like no other.  Kent’s most recent post titled “Physicians, Humility and the Transformation of American Healthcare” is a near epic work that begins with Dr. Atul Gawande‘s call for medical schools to do a better job of training physicians in “humility, discipline, and teamwork.” He then introduces, by way of contract, Dr. Eric Van De Graaff‘s blog post titled “Why Are So Many Doctors Complete Jerks?” From there, he takes us down a rabbit hole on a quest for practical wisdom within the practice of medicine. It is an amazing journey.

HCSM Potpourri

My daughter will occasionally remind me that Google sees all, knows all and rules all. How could any of us ever forget? Marie Ennis-O’Connor has recently written a post for the HealthCare Social Media Monitor Blog titled “5 Google Tools to Rock Your Healthcare Marketing.” And yes, Google is still supreme. Marie’s post reviews a number of free Google tools proven to be effective for social media marketing. Her post is a terrific primer and a reminder to master the fundamentals.

It’s easy to get carried away with this social media phenomenon and assume that its reach is all encompassing. Jean Kelso Sandlin, writing on the Hive Strategies Blog, suggests that we use caution when making assumptions about the reach and impact of social media within healthcare. She also asks that we avoid thinking of social media as merely a set of marketing tools. Hence the title of her post: “Beyond Marketing: Social Media as a Cost-Saving, Life-Saving Healthcare Strategy.” According to Jean, “If we narrow our view of social media to recognize only its marketing potential, we fail to (see) the powerful connectivity, customization and accessibility of social media that lends itself to patient support, empowerment, compliance, and education.” This reminds me of the point Phil Baumann makes in his post on the over-promising of healthcare social media.

The champion of healthcare social media ROI, the always affable Chris Boyer, puts aside his ukelele this week and takes a fresh look at SEO, social engine optimization. Not what you expected from SEO? As Chris explains in his latest post, the lines between search engine optimization and social media are blurring. He goes on to provide tips for optimizing social media to augment SEO efforts – all essential elements of a comprehensive digital strategy.

For those of you who enjoy infographics, particularly those dealing with healthcare social media, a recent post on the Spirit of Women Blog includes an interesting graphic depicting their perspective on the difference between being engaged and actually engaging others on Facebook. It is a distinction that is worth making and one that many in healthcare still have not taken to heart.

Over the last few years, many of us have come to see Twitter as a vital professional development tool. Following the #hcsm stream is one of the best ways I know to keep up with developments in our field. Brian McGowan, creator of the Social QI Blog, shares that perspective and takes it a step further. In his latest post he describes Twitter as an “ideal learning system.” For Brian, Twitter provides the perfect architecture to support the essential elements of adult learning. Not bad for a microblogging service that provides a platform for short bursts of inconsequential content. Despite what some believe, it is not all about people Tweeting what they had for breakfast.

Physician interaction with patients via social media has been a hot topic for some time, and for good reason. Bryan Vartabedian’s recent post titled “How I Handle Medical Questions on Social Sites” gives practical advice for handling patient interactions within social media platforms. He simplifies what many of us find to be a complex challenge. For any physician wondering how to handle patient questions through social media, here’s a peer with solid advice.

Mobile Health: The Global Outlook

Mobile health is an international phenomenon. A couple of recent posts on the Healthworks Collective blog help us shift our focus to mobile health around the globe. The first is a post from Katherine Malbon who looks at how cell phones are being used in Africa for family planning education as part of the Mobile for Reproductive Health (m4RH) project. Using a mobile phone, individuals can access a series of text messages with evidence-based content regarding family planning methods. The messages include information about side effects, general effectiveness, duration of use and ability to return to fertility after use. A post by Rhona Finkel discusses the impact of technology on healthcare in Ghana, where mobile access is expanding rapidly. The introduction of cell phones and telemedicine is having a dramatic impact on the health of villagers of Bonsaaso in Ashanti Region of Ghana. One can only imagine the potential that these technologies hold over time for the broader region.

It’s a Wrap

I’ve enjoyed hosting this installment of the blog carnival! Stay tuned for the next edition. HealthCare SocialMedia Review  has information about the next edition’s host and instructions on how to submit your posts for review in future installments. I encourage you to visit the site and consider hosting a future post.

17 comments on “HealthCare Social Media Review #11

  1. Thanks for including my post in this terrific edition of HCSM Review Dan. I am looking forward to catching up with the rest of these posts too.

  2. Great blog circus, Dan! Thanks for including me! The other articles are great…good stuff all around.

  3. Wow, what a tour of our busy e-space!

    What I love about the internet, in this context, is that anyone CAN speak up and float a question, idea, invitation, at virtually no cost – without having to justify its “ROI” to anyone. Some get noticed, some turn into a discussion, some don’t. But in the old Web 1.0 world, that just wasn’t possible. This has really changed the idea economy.

    Btw, the snarking lurkers I wrote about never did raise their hands and say “Well, yeah – here are my concerns.” Snotbags. 🙂 But it’s no surprise! As I said at the time, this is what happens when you have people in an overpaid aristocratic environment, where they don’t have to actually *do* anything useful – the spend their sponsors’ time & money and their own energy snarking about what others are trying to do.

    It reminds me of the movie Dangerous Liaisons.

    Anyway, good post – back to work!

  4. Honored to be included, Dan, and great to discover this site! Thank you.

    • dandunlop

      Thanks Lori. I love your blog! I was really pleased to have this opportunity to share it with the healthcare social media community. Keep up the good work!

  5. Adding my kudos to the rest of the gang here, Dan. Nice job on the blog roundup. Loved the topic. It’s always interesting to hear disruptive ideas and strategies. Thanks for mentioning Jean Sandlin’s post. Good work all around.

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  7. Pingback: A Look at Social Media in Health Care Two Years Later | Biotech Innovator

  8. Great review of what’s happening in the health care social media word. Great point about the lack of patients at conferences!!! I bet there would be standing room only.

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  10. “HealthCare Social Media Review #11 The Healthcare Marketer” ended up being a great posting.
    If solely there was a lot more blogs similar to this specific one in
    the web. Anyhow, thanks for your personal precious time, Carson

  11. Social media a powerful tool that rapidly grows among every generation, now a day’s youths are easily attracted towards the use of social media. So health organization and other non profitable organizations are more likely to target social media to spread the awareness on healthcare issues.

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