5 examples of hospital healthcare social media strategies

11:01 am by | 4 Comments

Mayo Clinic may reign supreme when it comes to healthcare social media strategies. But there are other hospitals pushing the envelope in their own rights. Medical Coding and Billing blog has compiled a list of 20 inspiring hospital social media strategies, where Mayo takes the top slot, but here are five that I really liked.

Raise money using Facebook. Folks at University of California, San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital have figured out how to raise money using social media, and that too using Farmville, the wildly popular Facebook game. Ashton Kutcher got involved, too. It’s nice when your initial goal is $100,000 and you end up raising more than $1 million. The money will go toward the 183-bed UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital at Mission Bay, which is expected to be completed in 2014.

Live tweeting brain surgery. Not only did Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit upload a video on YouTube on brain surgery, the surgeons live tweeted the whole procedure. This occurred in 2009, so it’s possible that it was the first live-tweeted surgery. It has since been followed up by other surgical live tweets at Ohio State University and Rex Healthcare, among others.


Setting the record straight. Social media is great to build buzz, but it is an indispensable tool when it comes to crisis communication. That power was wielded at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center in 2009. A Baltimore TV station incorrectly reported that an armed robber had broken into the hospital. People who were concerned sent out tweets based on the false information. The hospital’s media relations manager Michael Schwartzberg preempted a wider panic by alerting those who had tweeted about the news story.

GBMCMedia @BaltimoreCP @CireNavot @UrbanInformer@browneyedvixen @UniqueBobby @riobeard11 There was NOT a robbery at GBMC. Media had story wrong.
12:14 AM Dec 5th, 2009 from web

GBMCMedia There was NOT a robbery at GBMC tonite. The news media had the story incorrect. Working on a statement now.
12:13 AM Dec 5th, 2009 from web

Attracting physicians to a hospital. The most widespread use of social media is to build community. But for Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, it is a vital recruiting tool as well. The hospital went down this innovative road in recruiting gastroenterologists when traditional methods of advertising in print publications failed.

Locate an emergency room. OK, so this is a mobile health strategy and is not exactly an example of how hospitals use social media, but it is inspired nonetheless. In June 2010, Massachusetts General Hospital launched a free iPhone app that allows people to locate the nearest emergency room anywhere in the U.S. The app called FindER also provides directions and other information.

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Arundhati Parmar

By Arundhati Parmar

Arundhati Parmar is the Medical Devices Reporter at MedCity News. She has covered medical technology since 2008 and specialized in business journalism since 2001. Parmar has three degrees from three continents - a Bachelor of Arts in English from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India; a Masters in English Literature from the University of Sydney, Australia and a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University in Chicago. She has sworn never to enter a classroom again.
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Trying to raise money or helping patients locate emergency rooms are great uses of social media for the medical industry. However, I do not like the idea of a doctor tweeting while performing surgery of any kind. It seems to me like that has litigation written all over it.

Erick Kinuthia
Erick Kinuthia

Great post Parmar. I believe social media is an efficient tool that doctors can use not just to reach out to patients but also to share ideas among doctors and physicians. Erick Kinuthia Team MDwebpro

Healthcare Sales 101
Healthcare Sales 101

I had to read the section on "Live tweeting brain surgery" twice because I could not believe what I was reading. I would not think anyone would want a surgeon multitasking during a surgery.

Jason Boies
Jason Boies

Love the example from Baltimore Med Center. Twitter, such a great tool for quick communication. Stopping a false story before it has chance to start. Effective use of social media there as well with the @ mentioning of the local press. Would be wise for health facilities to set up a list of local authorities so they quickly tweet them when needed (local Fire Dept, Police, FEMA etc) Great examples highlighted here. :) Jason Boies Radian6 Community Team