October 21, 2011

Mayo Clinic Health Network Speakers Bring It at Fall Conference


What a day!  More than 375 healthcare communicators from 38 states and four countries converged on Rochester for the Mayo Clinic Health Social Media Summit, and we were there!  Read on, for recaps and resources of the many presentations we heard today about physician engagement and mobile tech.

The Mayo Clinic Video Production Studio--Covering the world with Healthcare Education

We started our day with a tour of the Mayo Clinic Media Studio, which was well worth the price of the plane ticket here.  It is truly a global video production facility, broadcasting on the web and by satellite all over the world.  Their video production goes far beyond social media and media relations, like most hospitals.  They broadcast surgeries and teach classes, beaming them all over the world, with the ability of the physicians taking the courses to talk to the surgeons live.  They have all the main meeting rooms at the complex wired for robotic cameras--perfect for broadcasting employee meetings, major announcements, and more.  What's impressive about these studios is not the 15 video producers (to support hundreds more deparment staff), 9 patient education channels, 850 custom produced on-demand education videos, their pilots in health gaming or their personalized EHR-over-your-room TV service.  What's truly impressive is how video has made patient, employee and industry education feel more detailed, personal and easy to consume.  In this, they truly lead the world--a fitting role for an organization that treats a million patients a year.

Endocrinologist Takes Patient Compliance into Her Own Hands with New Apps

Some of our favorite presentations came from physicians so passionate about the promise of social media to change patient outcomes for the better.  The presentation from Dr. Jennifer Shine Dyer on "what really works in mobile healthcare" was a real stand out.  A prominent endocrinologist, Dyer left her post this year to pursue a career as a healthcare app developer and consultant.  A physician serving teens with diabetes, Dyer conducted a study to see if patients would improve their recording and insulin treatment compliance if they got regular texts from her with personal, encouraging messages.  The text showed they were three times more likely to take the proper treatment, and the patients improved their numbers substantially.  She's now developed an app called EndoGoddess (which, by the way, can be whitelabeled) that helps diabetes patients monitor and record their blood sugar, connects them to a more detailed health record portal and receive daily reminders and personalized encouraging words from the doctor.  When they do well, their family members get notices and they earn i-Tunes rewards purchased by their parents. In the version for younger kids, she's developing a virtual pet that kids feed based on points they earn for good compliance.  And did I mention her next project is to create hip online lifestyle publication for young people with diabetes?  These are the kind of physicians we need in the future of medicine.

The Third World Could School the US in Mobile Health Outreach

There are more than 5 billion cell phones in the world, with the majority of them being in developing countries like Indonesia. Here, cell phones are the poor's window to the world when they don't have regular access to computers or broadband access.  Speaker Egbe Osifo-Dawodu, MD, of the Anadach Group, gave a wonderful overview of how mobile phone SMS campaigns and apps have become major ways patients in developing countries learn about healthy behaviors and fill in gaps in the healthcare system.  She gave too many great examples to list here, but mentioned specifically Sproxil, which can tell you whether the medicine you buy is conterfeit or not; and Ushabidi, a mobile phone app that helped crowd source information during Crisis situations in Haiti and Chile; and TRACnet, an mhealth initiative in Rwanda that improved referrals and healthcare worker knowledge in Rwanda.  Programs like Airstrip have helped caregivers and physicians in rural, inacessible areas view vital signs and clinical information remotely. Fact is, mobile health tools can help especially vulnerable populations in the US such as urban youth, pregnant teens, and the rural elderly.  In fact, 98 percent of Americans now have a cell phone-- a much higher penetration rate than emerging markets.  Yet, regulatory barriers, fuzzy direction from the FDA on apps, HIPPA laws, reimbursement, connectivity and poor training and adoption among healthcare providers and industry advocacy groups remains.  Lets hope groups like Mayo's can help move the needle on this issue.

Chris Boyer on ROI and Social Media

Chris Boyer of Inova Health Systems gave a fascinating presentation on how to measure the ROI of social media...a topic foremost on the minds of health communicators trying to sell the efforts to their skeptical superiors.  While he contends that there are 100 ways to measure ROI, as well as online measurement platforms like social mention (free) and Radian6 (not so free), most of his calculations are based on his home made equations and heavy access to the hospital's CRM system.  Here's an example.  They developed a website for Inova's bariatric/medical weight loss center and spent $479 a month on Facebook ads to support it.  They got 296 clicks a month for a total cost of $1.62 per click--a little high.  However, in that month they got 37 seminar reservations at the center from the Facebook click throughs.  Twenty-three percent of those who attended the seminar registered for surgery.  There's a $3000 margin on each surgery, leading to a total $20,700 profit.  There's more to his equations and calcuations to come up with an official ROI number.  I'll leave that to slideshare, where he has all his presentation slides posted.

Wendy Sue Swanson, MD--A Passionate Advocate & Practitioner of Patient Education Through Social Media

Our closing keynote came from Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, a physician who is better known as @SeattleMamaDoc, or the writer of columns for Parents Magazine.  We were impressed with Dr. Swanson, who divides her time between working part time for Seattle Children's Hospital, working as a healthcare consultant, blogger and writer,  and raising her own children.  She cites the fact that 98 percent of young people are on Facebook...and as a pediatrician, it's kids and young families she needs to reach the most.  She has helped her practice immensely by posting videos answering the common questions she gets from parents and patients--making her patient visits more productive.  She runs a patient portal where kids can talk health with her, behind a protected walled garden. She writes the Seattle Children's Blog.  She chides physicians and hospitals who are afraid to speak online because they are afraid something unprofessional will be said.  A recent study from JAMA showed only 3 percent of studied physician tweets and Facebook posts were unprofessional--a rate much lower than a physician would have, probably, on their face to face interactions, she pointed out.  She urged physicians to find ways to use social media to address patients real concerns, to care about them directly, and to disseminate information about the real science behind the latest medical headlines. It also is important to note that she feels it is important to pay physicians to participate on social media, either through direct pay, or through a salary for their clinical work that includes protected time for social media.  "Science is losing its voice on the web to the book authors, talk show hosts and fear mongers.  We need to stand up and speak loudly," she said.

Amen, Dr. Swanson.





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Mayo Clinic Health Network Speakers Bring It at Fall Conference
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