What Does “Personalized Health Care” Mean to You?

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This morning, I had the pleasure of attending a presentation given by Clay Marsh, MD. and senior associate vice president for research in the Office of Health Sciences, vice dean for research in the College of Medicine and executive director of the OSU Center for Personalized Health Care.

marsh_clayDr. Marsh was giving a presentation about personalized health care.  It’s a bit of an industry buzz word, and everyone wants to be a part of it, but the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has a good summary here. To boil down the premise of PHC, it is delivering the right medicine to the right person at the right time. Science has moved quickly to understand our genetic makeup… it has decoded our genome and is in the process of understand how all of these pieces are linked, how they interact, and how they make us… well, us.

The science from there is to hopefully map what we look like if/when we are genetically healthy.

Genetically speaking what I look like is different than what this guy looks like (apart from the other and obvious differences), though, we may both be genetically healthy.  If we can understand what each person looks like genetically healthy, then maybe we can pinpoint the genes/proteins that signal we may be getting (or be predisposed to getting) sick.  If we are able to do those two things, the last and final piece of the science is to figure out how to get us back to our genetically healthy person.   It’s going to take the smartest people in the world to figure out.

This is the future of medicine.

However, Dr. Marsh doesn’t think it all revolves around science.  After all, we are dealing with human beings.  In order to understand what they are made of genetically, we need to understand more than just their blood type, we need to know what their environment (think air, stress, educational level) is like.  We need to know their diet.  Those are much more social factors.   Dr. Marsh knows that to learn these things about people health care practioners will need to stop doing business as usual.  We need to listen and talk to people as individuals.  We must open the channels of communication that our patients already feel comfortable using.  Only then can we understand the whole person in THEIR environment.  Only then will our patients share the information we need to be able to personalize health care.

So how do we do this?  Dr. Marsh thinks we need to start having more fun.  Of course, I instantly think “social media” because there isn’t a day that goes by when I’m not having fun with what I do.  How do we translate that to conversation/communication/connection with our patients?  How do we prove to our customers that we aren’t just in it for the money? How can we have fun with health care and not just tell you what you should do so you don’t die?

Dr. Marsh believes that President Obama’s plan to fix how we fund health care will be a big first step.  Instead of focusing on funding disease-based care (pay for it when they get sick), we believe that Obama’s plan will focus on wellness based maintenance (spend money to learn what keeps people healthy and then keep them healthy).  Personalized health care.

So what do you think?  Do you think it is possible to create enough disruptive innovation to turn health care and the way we deliver health care around so that it is truly personalized… scientifically AND socially?  What will it take?

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Building Community With Ning


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Nursing at the OSU Medical Center is a huge profession.  Of the 16,000 people employed here, almost 5,500 are nurses.  It takes a lot of good people to take care of all the patients.  And it takes one heck of a management structure to take care of all of those good people.

Enter: shared governance.  I wasn’t really sure what shared governance meant (outside of the denotation).  I found this post from Arnold van der Valk which provided some good insight.  Shared governance was a new way for the members of the nursing community to take ownership of their decisions, and to build community around their management. 

Clearly, they needed a tool that would help them collaborate… and communicate about some of the pitfalls van der Valk describes. 

I did some looking around and found Ning to be a useful community building tool that would allow us to carry on open conversations, share ideas and thoughts, post pictures and files, and even post video (when we get to that point).  We also looked at some good-old-fashioned message boards, but decided Ning would allow us to do everything we wanted in a social sort of way.

I had seen what Alvin Borromeo had done with Ning when he created Majelly and liked the functionality.  So I decided to give it a whirl.

photo courtesy: blog.ning.com

photo courtesy: blog.ning.com

One HUGE difference between what Alvin had done and what I needed to do was that the shared governance Ning community needed to be completely locked down.  It might contain patient information, which is protected by HIPPA laws, and other sensitive information. 

Ning let me create a closed network which is not searchable.  I would have to invite each person (about 200) individually, but I could upload a .csv file easily to do that.  Then I turned on an option to accept each person… so they would need a specific email to find the site and sign up, but I still had the option of denying them access if they weren’t on my list.  Most of the security problem is solved because I’ve addressed who can and can’t get in to see content.

Working with Amanada Thatcher (who works in Communications and Marketing for the nursing population), we built the ning site in about 3 hours.  I found the graphics to be a bit difficult to use, but everything else was very easy. 

But when the initial site was shared with the population, they had a couple of concerns.  I expected a couple of concerns… this was something completely new and way out of the box. 

The two concerns: security (no elaboration) and a concern about this tool allowing people to work from home on their own time (not getting paid).

The security concern is valid, but they don’t even know what specific questions they have.  Can the site be hacked?  It doesn’t sit behind our  firewall, can other people get into it?  How safe is the information inside?  I’m pushing back on them to think more specifically about some of these security concerns.  Don’t just say “It doesn’t feel secure” and then expect me to fix it.  I think this is just conversation and education here.  When I get those security concerns nailed down, I’ll find the people I need to get the questions answered… Ning has a good support staff, and locally, Brian Lockery is very knowledgeable regarding security  (I’ve not yet talked to Brian about this).  Unless there are real security issues with Ning, we will get this resolved.  If you have any thoughts or resources, please let me know.

The second concern is people doing work on their own time at home.  I’m going to resist the urge to rant here… suffice it to say that I work from home 24 hours a day, my work is a big part of who I am, and I like it that way.  I understand we don’t want employees to work from home, but in this case,  a shared governance Ning website is no different than a piece of paper with “Shared Governance” written on the top and a pen sitting next to that paper.  If the employee chooses to pick it up and use it, they are choosing to work from home… that’s not something I think we should be trying to control. 

I get that it is easy to use, that’s the point.  What do you think is the best way to resolve these issues?

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Filed under Building a Social Media Program

My Daughter Is Fancy

I was on the phone the tonight with my wife, and my daughter, Anna, came out of our closet wearing mommy’s shoes.  She is fancy.

Clearly, fancy is important. It adds character. It can often be the differentiating factor between us and the other people doing the same thing. But it also creates issues. We all want to be fancy, but at the end of the day, it’s important to get the job done… to get to where we need to or want to end up. I’m trying to remind myself not to get too fancy with social media and strategy; eventually, we just need to get the job done.

But… if we can add a little fancy… Anna will be proud of me.

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Epic Win

Last week I was offered the chance of a lifetime… to go to work for an already accomplished institution to develop and implement their digital and social media strategy. 

I’ve learned a lot about digital and social media over the past year, but the most important thing I’ve learned regarding this media is my passion.  I think The Other Paper called me an evangelist, and that’s true.  When I believe in the power of something, I go at with 120% to help realize it’s potential. 

That’s what I was doing at NBC 4, I was helping people understand the power.   Luckily, I wasn’t alone.  I had a team of people that saw the potential in social media and were as committed to seeing it work as I was.  I believe that a single person can yeild a lot of power when it comes to something like this… to empower the members of their team.  The team then creates a legacy (one person doesn’t).  Our NBC 4 team is doing that right now, and I’m proud to have been a part of that.

In a month I will move to The Ohio State University Medical Center.  I’ll be in a position to be a part of another great team, doing amazing work with patient care and research.  OSUMC is focused on individualizing care for each person.  After the last few months advocating for my daughter, that message is something that I want to be a part of… The possibilities social media brings to an organization to individualize attention are nearly endless.

I have very mixed emotions about this; the only work I’ve ever known is local TV news.  I’m still passionate about the direction it’s going, and the potential it has.  Local TV news is also the only work my family has ever known.  I’m not going out on a limb when I say that it is extremely difficult to give your family the attention they desereve when you work in this industry; it demands so much of your attention, and you never know when it will demand all of your attention.  It’s both the most exciting part of the job, and the most taxing on a family.

I’m hoping that the relationships I’ve built in Central Ohio will continue to allow me to use my talent to build a model internal and external system of digital and social media that will further solidify Ohio State’s Medical Center as the standard for employee and customer care.  I am in this position today because of the lessons I’ve learned from you, and that’s a debt I’ll never repay.


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Social Journalism: Correcting years of mistakes

I just read a blog by one of my tweeps @jenniferlaycock.  Jennifer is an online marketer and a professional blogger, so she is somewhat of a social media guru.  In her latest blog post http://www.searchengineguide.com/sage-lewis/jennifer-laycock-brings-business-back-to.php Jennifer talks about how social media didn’t change business. 

Good business hasn’t been changed by social media, because good businesses were already connecting with people.  Social media is just one more tool businesses are using to reach people.  The difference between good business and bad business is what they use that connection for.  Good businesses know that reaching people is important so that they can establish a relationship of trust first, before they ever talk about their product.  Bad businesses try to connect with people using the message of their product as the reason for making the connection.  Good businesses leverage the power of their employees to make a difference in peoples’ lives, bad businesses tell people that the business will be the difference in peoples’ lives.

Since I’ve been in TV the only real relationship we seem to have with people is our product.  The problem is, the television media product, by nature, is tainted in 2008.  People believe we are biased or out of touch with their concerns.  This is the result of not finding a way to connect with these people first.  We are so busy filling hours of tv news that we don’t take the time to really listen to our community and hear what they have to say.  Telling someones story and listening to a community’s concerns are two different things.

Social journalism is one answer.  But we have to do it in order… social then journalism.  We have to find a way to connect with our potential customers first.  To talk to them, to listen to them.  We have to make that connection with our individual journalists, like @jason_wcmh has done.  People want to connect with people; people are hesitant to connect with NBC.  Jennifer Laycock agrees, “…people trust people, not corporations.”

So how do we stop this behemoth operation long enough to make those connections.  Well, we can’t.  At the end of the day we still have bills to pay.  But we have to focus each and every one of our minutes of the day on finding and taking advantage of opportunities for our people to connect with the people of Central Ohio, not just when they have the story, but every day.  We can change the way we do our journalism in the mean time by making it more of a conversation and less of an anchor moment. 

I would love to hear ideas you might have about how we can better connect with you.  I am passionate about connecting with our community and listening.  Please contact me in any way you can.  I’m @NBCSquire on twitter.


Filed under Social Journalism

Why I can’t sell a TV news story on Twitter

I wanted to do a television news story on Twitter.

I get at least one or two of my tweeps (twitter peeps) asking me when we will do a TV news story on twitter.

For the past year, we have focused the stories we do on news that is relevant and important to the people of Central Ohio.  I certainly think that twitter is relevant, and becoming more relevant every day that is works correctly.  I know that it has been an important piece of some of our stories, and can point to several, maybe a dozen instances in the last 5 weeks that we’ve used twitter to find or enhance a news story.

The problem and the power of twitter is that you only care about it if you use it.  I tried to get as many of our news people on there as possible, and for the most part, the people who joined use it to update what they are doing.  But not everyone.  The last thing I want to do is get everyone to get excited about twitter and join, befriend all of my tweeps, and then leave; and that’s rude.  The power of twitter is that it’s viral.  You hear about it from a friend, or come across it and tell 30 of your friends about it and they all start doing it because you are. 

Central Ohioans aren’t going to twitter because NBC 4 does.  They will twitter because the people they have a realationship with do.  So first we need to build relationships with people, then ask to be their friends.  After all, we are the evil biased media, or something.

Or this is all a big excuse and I just need to do the story.  But hold on.  It’s not just our viewers that have to buy in to a story that I would like to do.  I have to sell it to other managers and producers, too.  Some of these people have seen some of the value of twitter, but some still think it’s a joke.  I am trying, one-by-one, to knock down those pegs and get this story done.  Wish I had more time. 


Update:  After writing this story, I realized that I’ve never actually pitched the twitter story, so I’m going to stop blaming this on everyone else and take some responsibility.  Here’s what I need:  a Columbus area business that has seen an increase in business or some sort of measurable return from using twitter.  Please post it as a comment to the blog. 

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When Social Media Causes Antisocialism

So it finally happened.  Today, I was eating lunch with my wife (thanks for coming to see me at work!!) and my cell phone rings.  My cell phone rings any time I get a voicemail at work… annoying, but it allows me to respond to voicemails immediately.  I figured it was a call from a Petland store about surveillance video I was trying to get of a Chihuahua being stolen. 

It wasn’t.  It was the supervisor of all dispatchers for Pickerington Police.  Now, if you follow NBC 4 on Twitter, you know about Jason Mays and his famed nightly beat calls.  You also know that Jason one day aspires to move his clan (approaching tribe size) to Pickerington.  Jason talks to the Pickerington Police Dispatchers each night.  I’m sure he’s tried to sell them on twitter.  Jason is a born network builder, he does it more easily than anyone I have ever met.

Apparently, Jason forgot to talk to the dispatchers’ boss about being social.  This person called and left me a voicemail seeking an explanation for a fax she found from NBC 4 that proclaimed Pickerington Police Dispatchers as having one the NBC 4 Fresh Prince award for best story idea on May 2, 2008.

I didn’t know we had a Fresh Prince Award for best story idea.  It’s a pretty good idea.  Find a way to recognize the best story idea each week.

This person didn’t think it was appropriate.  She even asked me if it was the way we normally did things at NBC 4?  Yes, we talk to people.  It’s not all death and destruction; and even when it is, we don’t think that’s all fun. 

So this person tried to corner me a couple of different times about Jason, she even asked me to spell his name (sorry J).  I’m sure she’s running a full background check.  I reminded the supervisor that I would need to speak to Jason, and that I will not call him on his day off.  (i don’t think that’s fair, he’s not getting paid, why should he have to explain his social behavior?) 

So, Jason somehow found out that this person was looking for information.  Back to the history of dispatchers, Jason has established quite a social network among dispatchers.  I, on the other hand, never really got past, “hi, is anything going on?” At that moment they would say, “no” and I would thank them for being so forthcoming and hang up.  Jason has revolutionized social networking.  If you can create a social network among dispatchers, i think that you could make Hitler social.  (Not everyone was like this, and I’m generalizing, but more were anti-social.)

What story idea did Jason hand out the NBC 4 Fresh Prince Award for?  The dispatchers asked him to do a story on kids using their parents old cell phones, and those old cell phones still being able to dial 911.  It’s a problem because it greatly increases the number of unnecessary and potentially dangerous calls into the dispatch center because police are usually required to check out each 911 hang up call.  It’s a great story that would help increase awareness while hopefully lifting some of the burden on dispatchers.  They asked for help, they were being social.  Jason passed the story on to me.  We still haven’t done the story.

The only failure here is on my part.  A very good story idea, and for whatever reason, Marc Dann, weather, someone else’s story idea, we haven’t done this story with Pickerington. 

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