For me, one of the highlights of the Healthcare Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit this week came in the form of presentations from Dana Lewis (W2O Group as Director for MDigitalLife) and Margaret Coughlin (Boston Children’s Hospital), both of whom addressed the importance of online patient/family support communities. You heard me, online communities!
Over the last couple of years I’ve written more than a dozen blog posts about the relevance of online communities; written several articles for industry publications; and spoken on the subject at many healthcare marketing conferences. (If you’re interested I’d be happy to send you the short ebook I wrote on community building in healthcare.) Now I feel vindicated after hearing Margaret and Dana present at #HMPS16. Margaret shared the story of Boston Children’s online community for patients and families of their heart center. It’s a great success story with real ROI that can be attributed to the community. Meanwhile, Dana spoke about a variety of online patient communities, with particular emphasis on communities for Diabetes patients. She also mentioned the #BCSM community. If you aren’t familiar with the Breast Cancer Social Media community, you should definitely check it out!
It goes without saying that I am a believer in the relevance and importance of online communities when it comes to patient engagement. Below is a very informal video I made a couple years ago about my vision for online communities in healthcare. I was vacationing in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so please don’t judge the production quality. (It was just me and a video camera.) It is only 5-minutes long and will give you a great introduction to why I think online communities are so important to what we do as healthcare marketers. Enjoy!