MCSMN Blog

April 13, 2011

Member Profile: Sutter Health

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Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series by and about members of the Social Media Health Network. This post was contributed by Amy Davis, Communications Coordinator, News & Social Media for Sutter Health. Visit the Network tab for a list of members and information on how your organization can join.

Serving patients and their families in more than 100 Northern California cities and towns, the not-for-profit Sutter Health network of doctors, hospitals and other health care service providers is dedicated to advancing quality performance and access to personalized, affordable care.

With 24 hospitals, nearly 5,000 aligned physicians and 48,000 employees, our current efforts in social media focus on connecting patients with the expert care and resources they need when, where and how they prefer. Another key focus of Sutter Health’s involvement in new media is employee, physician and volunteer engagement through organizational news, announcements from leaders and more.

Sutter Health’s ventures in interactive media began several years ago, with the production of one of the nation’s first online annual reports in 2007; the creation of our YouTube channel in 2008; and the launch of our system Facebook page in 2009, in addition to a new interactive wellness portal for women, MyLifeStages. Sutter Health’s 2009 annual report received over 30,000 unique pageviews and included social sharing tools for the first time. In 2010, Sutter Health launched an active Twitter account, connecting with more patients, industry leaders and employees in the popular micro blogging platform.

As the Sutter Health family spans a large geographic region, the majority of our affiliated hospitals, care centers and physician organizations maintain individual Facebook pages and YouTube channels to post local health events, feature regional experts and more. Many also maintain active Twitter accounts (affiliate list).

In addition to connecting with patients, social media also plays a key role in employee engagement. The network witnessed over 6,300 view counts on a video highlighting a successful internal campaign called 6 Words, rallying employees to share how they make a difference at work in only 6 words – essentially, a condensed tweet. The video features many of the thoughtful contributions shared by employees across the network.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDhzhS-87Nw&feature=channel_video_title]

In the past few months, Sutter Health has made significant advancements in mobile health tools, introducing two free smartphone apps that deliver health resources and in some cases, electronic medical records, directly to patient’s fingertips. Each external announcement relied heavily on strategic social media executions, including viral videos and FAQs to help patients get started.

Social media strategies in the Sutter Health network also extend to philanthropic programs, as one of the network’s medical centers recently hosted an online community grant program, asking partner non-profits how they would use $10,000 to improve their communities – in 140 characters or less. With the public casting votes for its favorite “philanthropic tweet”, the contest achieved viral success with over 100,000 votes logged.

Sutter Health’s active role in responding to patient inquiries or feedback via social media shows how our network is focused on making health care more personal; by connecting patients and consumers to the expert care and resources they need most. Whether a patient is sharing feedback about their ER visit or looking for a new doctor, Sutter Health is listening - and responding.

We constantly consider the latest trends to determine how they may support our network’s efforts in expanding access to quality care and offering convenient health resources through tools that complement the busy lifestyles of today’s consumers. We look forward to participating in the Social Media Health Network and collaborating with fellow healthcare leaders on new opportunities in emerging social media platforms.

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