MCSMN Blog

October 19, 2012

HCAHPS Scores and Employee Social Media Access: Connected?

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At the close of our 4th Annual #MayoRagan Social Media Summit as a part of our Social Media Week at Mayo Clinic, I am struck by the rapid progression and growing recognition of the value of social media as a means to address issues in health care. Ranging from clinical practice, medical education and research, striking examples were shared that show clearly how we have progressed from what had been viewed as a push medium marketing tool set to one that allows for engagement with our patients past and future, fundamentally where they are, online.

I was also struck by how many attendees, despite these profound opportunities, represented organizations that still block social media access for their employees. Many institutions take a "risk mitigation by elimination" approach. At many sessions, well over half the attendees indicated that their organization blocked some if not all social media sites for their employees. From our perspective they are choosing to take their most powerful asset, their human bandwidth, offline.

To engage, we need to understand. We need to begin by asking and assessing who is blocking. Once we understand the extent, we can begin to measure the impact blocking has on employee satisfaction and retention. Beyond the impact on employee satisfaction, the majority of HCAHPS patient experience survey questions focus on basic communication skills. Sub-par HCAHPS scores bring penalties that have significant financial impact on hospitals, and interventions that improve performance provide obvious benefits, leading us to ask:

  • How is engagement and conversation with patients impacted by social media blocking, and
  • Does unblocking improve HCAHPS performance?

Many similar critical questions regarding unblocking can only be answered when we understand the extent and magnitude of the issue.

That's why we launched the Health Care Social Media Survey this week: to assess the extent to which health care and health-related organizations are using social media tools and have developed policies or guidelines for employees use. I urge you to take the five minutes needed to complete the survey. It is only by understanding the challenge we face can we begin to define solutions. As Sun Tzu aptly said, “If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.”

In addition, I would urge you to consider joining the Social Media Health Network. You will have the opportunity to connect with others who have faced and are facing the same challenges you’re encountering and gain access to free or discounted training and materials, among other benefits.

Let's crowdsource the change in health care that we all desire.

Start today by taking the survey!

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