Vanderbilt University Medical Center is an academic medical center that includes top 20 schools of medicine and nursing and a research enterprise among the top 10 in competitive National Institutes of Health grant funding. Its clinical services include a 600-plus-bed tertiary hospital, a Level 1 Trauma Unit and Burn Unit, a free-standing Children’s Hospital, and a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. More about our center.
VUMC began its official journey with social media with the development of a social media policy for its faculty, staff and students. This policy took many months to draft, review and approve by a broad multi-disciplinary team that included representatives of strategic marketing, communications, risk management, general counsel, privacy, human resources, physician leadership and academic leadership.
Since the approval of the policy in December 2009 and its publication online, the policy has been adopted and adapted by a number of other academic medical centers across the country. The policy is posted online along with a “Social Media Toolkit” that also has received attention from peers at other universities and medical centers.
Our official engagement in social media began with a centralized effort that grew out of our strategic marketing department. That has grown now to several primary official social media properties, including Facebook pages for Vanderbilt Health, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital, our schools of Medicine and Nursing, Lifeflight air ambulance service and our Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. We have a corporate Twitter account (@VUMCHealth) and have recently launched separate accounts for conversations about child health, cancer, diabetes and heart disease (@VUMCChildren, @VUMCCancer,@VUMCDiabetes, and @VUMCHeart). Our YouTube presence focuses on two channels, one for Vanderbilt Health and the other for our Children’s Hospital. We also work very closely with our colleagues at Vanderbilt University.
Successes so far include service recovery, promoting events and other activities, and engaging with free-lance journalists and trade publications.
Our interactive marketing team includes three staff members with part-time responsibilities for development and execution of social media strategies. Our work is complemented by social media activity by a handful of other communications colleagues. We are also working to develop social media competency among others in marketing and news/communications.
We are excited to be a part of the Social Media Health Network not only to share experiences and best practices but also to collaborate in finding ways to use these new tools to improve the work of our organizations and health of those we serve