Tag Archives: Social Media

Medical Students Share 50% of the Blame for Social Media Issues

This week the news broke, after a study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (abstract available publically here) that Medical Students are undermining any legitimate use of social media in health care by destroying their own professional image and alienating patients by releasing protected health information. Here’s an article that breaks down the findings: Med Students on Twitter, Facebook: No Patient Privacy? – TIME.

I have a few thoughts. First, are we looking at these student’s social media profiles BEFORE they are accepted? That would give us a picture of what we may be getting ourselves in to. Fact is, if a medical student really believes that it’s acceptable behavior to post pictures/video/accounts of him/herself getting drunk, then they probably aren’t the kind of material that will make good doctors. I’m not sure it would be acceptable for school environmental service workers (janitors) to post that kind of thing. We really need to look at what these people are telling the world about themselves not just the resume or CV they want US to see.

Second, the JAMA study concludes that Medical Schools may not have adequate policy in place. This is definitely the case. Most schools have not moved fast enough to put policy in place. In a professionalism council meeting that I attended, a physician brought up another good point… consequences. What are the consequences when the policy is broken? We have to define consequences and communicate them up front.

I think adequate policy is a legitimate concern, but I also think that policy is really inadequate to solve the issue. If we are not able to teach students how their use of social media impacts their ability to build and maintain a professional identity, then they won’t understand how their ingrained culture (engagement/social media) interacts with their new culture: medical professionalism. A list of rules to digital natives will work as well as telling our (or my parents) generation not to smoke in the boys room. People do it just to break the rules.

We have to teach, model, and expect consistent behavior that reinforces professionalism. We do that now, but if we don’t teach it in the context of the med students culture, we’re only covering half of the material. That may mean that our educators need to learn how to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

My math teacher couldn’t have expected me to take a math test using a calculator if she didn’t know how to teach me to use it for math. I would just bang away at the numbers like my 3-year-old. That’s similar to what we’re doing right now.

It is unrealistic to expect this generation not to use these tools. Social media and social networks are as much a part of their lives as their parents (sadly, maybe more). We have to see that shift and we have to respond to it by embracing the tools, learning them, and then teaching the responsibilities that come along with them as they relate to professionalism and private health information.

via Med Students on Twitter, Facebook: No Patient Privacy? – TIME.

The views expressed here are my own and not that of the Ohio State University Medical Center or the OSU College of Medicine. If you would like to comment, please understand that your comments will be moderated for appropriateness.


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Would You Use Social Media To Stay Healthy?

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I want to be up front about what I do… I am building a social media program for the Ohio State University Medical Center.  I love my job. Over the last couple of days, I’ve heard rumblings that we may want to allow certain areas of the medical center to shut down access to social media.

To a certain extent, I’m not completely opposed to this.  I wouldn’t want a physician surfing YouTube when the physician should be providing care to a patient.  At the same time, is turning off access the best way to ensure our physicians, nurses, or other staff are attending to their responsibilities?  Well, it depends on who you ask.

I’m of the mindset that managers should be able to set boundaries for employees, teach them responsibilities that come along with access.  Of course, I am keenly aware of all the opportunities that social media afford us to connect with patients and customers.  What about the people who aren’t aware?  It’s not that they are wrong thinking we should shut off access… if they don’t see the value, why would they want the headache of having to manage its use in the workplace?  I empathize with them, I’ve managed people.

This all begs the question… Would You Use Social Media To Stay Healthy?  Would you connect with a physician or care team to talk about best practices?  Are you already talking to your friends about health issues?  Would you want a health care provider to chime in on that conversation?  Would you engage a health care provider?

As health care professionals, we have a responsibility to keep patient health information private.  How do you view this responsibility in regards to social media?

Please take 5 minutes and pick a question or two to answer because I need your help.  I need every piece of evidence I can find to make a case that turning off social media will adversely impact our ability to serve our customer in every corner of our business.

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Filed under Building a Social Media Program, personalized healthcare

Stop Hammering With Social Media

Social media are tools. Tools help us get a job done.

It’s Father’s Day so I’m going to walk you through one of the most important lessons my Dad ever taught me.

Dave Squire can fix anything. To be honest, I think he still breaks stuff just so he can try to fix it. Call me a pessimist. Bottom line is he can fix anything. So as a kid, I naturally developed a desire to fix stuff, too. I wanted to be like Daddy.

But kids are always a little to anxious to help, right? I remember picking up a hammer and trying to “help” Dad screw in a screw. Similarly, I would use the wrong side of the screwdriver to pound in a nail.

There were two issues. I didn’t always know which tool would work best and I was usually just so happy to have a tool in my hand, I didn’t stop to think if it was the best tool for the job. After dad “reminded” me enough times, I learned that I could get a lot more done using the right tools and cause a lot less damage at the same time.

These days my Dad looks like a genius. When was the last time we stopped and asked ourselves if we were using the right tool for the job? I hear a lot of, “I want to set up a facebook page” or “i want to twitter.”
Have to give these people credit, at least they ask. But some don’t. Some pick up that shiny new hammer that many of us know as Twitter, and go pounding away with wild abandonment. If we’re lucky we screw up a bit until we realize how to use the tool, if we aren’t lucky, we can cause a pretty big mess.

So how on earth should we move forward? Please don’t wait for an “expert” to come along. You wouldn’t hire an expert to teach you to use a hammer, you just need a “dad”. You need a patient teacher who wants to see you succeed.

Then you need to stop and ask yourself what job you are tring to get done. What is your goal? From there, do a bit of research, read what people like Mack, Chris, Scott, Shannon, Brian, and Angela, just to name some of my favorites. These people are thought-leaders. They will all tell you they are not experts, then turn around and offer a viewpoint you hadn’t thought of; one that is absolutely brilliant. They will teach you how to use social media tools, they will teach you which tools to use at the right time. They do it because they love sharing knowledge, because they love growing conversation. They are kind of like Dad.

In the spirit of Father’s Day, let’s stop hammering our way through social media. Let’s stop and think, and then make our Father’s proud by using the right tool at the right time for the right reason.


Filed under Building a Social Media Program

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