Tag Archives: socialmedia

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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