MCSMN Blog

February 21, 2018

Content Creation Task Force Formalizes “New Media” at Mayo Clinic

By Lee Aase, Director, Mayo Clinic Social Media Network

The wildly unexpected results from our initially stealthy 2005 podcasting experiment created new legitimacy for "New Media" at Mayo Clinic.

Previously our team's focus had been on national broadcast networks and newspapers, as well as syndicating our television and radio segments in local markets throughout the U.S. and Canada.

That was completely reasonable prioritization, going for the largest reach for the effort involved. But getting more than 74,000 downloads of our audio segments via the podcast feed suggested that we should at least explore these newer platforms.

That's why in October 2005 we brought together a cross-functional group called the Content Creation Task Force to explore which of the "New Media" made sense for us to pursue.

We focused our investigation on:

  1. Blogging
  2. Satellite Radio and HD Radio
  3. Video streamed to mobile phones
  4. Longer-form podcasts

Note that this was before Facebook was available to anyone outside of high school or college, and we produced our final report in July 2006, almost a year before the launch of the iPhone. So the phones we were considering for video streaming were flip phones. And YouTube was less than a year old.

These were fast-changing times, and yet we didn't really even have a clue as to how that pace of change was about to explode.

That's why it was important that in addition to making recommendations on platforms that were then available, we also outlined factors to consider in evaluating new opportunities. In evaluating content creation opportunities, we listed several "Super Criteria" including:

  1. Fit with Mayo's strategic priorities or business goals
  2. Cost and complexity of production, including staff and physician time required
  3. Likelihood of use in traditional, established media (TV, Print, Radio)
  4. Usability in MayoClinic.org
  5. Does it provide an opportunity to collaborate with other content producers within Mayo, such as patient education or MayoClinic.com, to achieve synergies?
  6. For distribution options, does the platform enable users to search for and select what they want?

In our review of the four initial options, we recommended against Satellite Radio and HD Radio because, as the report says:

...the number of people with the right hardware has not reached a critical mass, and the format doesn't support people searching for and finding the information that is interesting to them.

We also are not yet prepared to recommend blogs. To be effective, a specialty (e.g. cardiology, cancer) blog would need a physician champion committed to regular posting, and would take more physician time than the production of additional audio and video content. It also is less likely to provide an opportunity for potential mainstream media coverage or for multiple new media content use.

Our positive recommendations were:

  1. Investigate offering Medical Edge TV segments on mobile phones
  2. Produce longer podcasts

The former was, like our initial radio podcast, just another distribution channel for content we already produced. Pretty easy call.

Producing longer podcasts mainly meant changing our production processes for the TV segments. We were interviewing physicians for about 25 minutes for each :90 segment, which typically included an eight-second sound bite. While the whole interview helped to inform script development and segment production, a lot of good information was left on the proverbial cutting-room floor.

By putting a microphone on the interviewer as well as the subject expert, and conducting the interview in a more conversational tone, we could capture both sides of the conversation. With about an hour of post-production editing, we could strip out the audio track from the video interview, and create a compelling resource for patients interested in in-depth information.

This made podcasting a big winner because it required no additional physician time, and production staff time was minimal.

While we weren't ready to recommend blogging in our task force report, some 2016 events and developments showed us some that it had potential. I'll cover those in next week's post.

Lee Aase is a Communications Director for Mayo Clinic's Social & Digital Innovation team and is Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. This post is part of a series called Mayo Clinic's Double Helix: How Revolutionary Organization and Networked Communication Built America's #1 Hospital.

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Tags: #MayoClinicDNA, blogs, Mayo Clinic History, podcasting

Have you considered using the Apple TV platform to leverage your video content, and not just distribute it via Apple TV into peoples homes, but within every waiting room at the Mayo?

Conceptually, I always thought the meme "patient wait times are bad" was based on flawed concept about time. Time isn't absolute, it is relative to perception.

"Boring, useless wait times are bad" but if you could target really useful video content to each waiting room (via pre-recrded channels) and have a great monitor with text overlay, then you could possibly use this wait time to enhance the patient experience.

Examples –

*A 1 minute video about football helmet sizing in a Pediatrics waiting room
*A one minute video about HPV vaccine in an internal medicine office (targeting the parents for their kids?)
* A two minute antibiotic overuse video in an ENT office …..

Separate sub-channels could be specialty, and since the patients time spent in the waiting room is (hopefully) episodic, you can loop content ( ie ten ENT videos plus 10 general health videos… ) ; All videos could have a call to action.

Now (really speculating) since time is relative, you had super-duper great content, then you would actually decrease the patients perceived wait time without needing to reduce the actual wait time! ;0)

Interesting thoughts. We've talked about perhaps how having videos available on iPads in the exam rooms to prep patients/families on specific issues might be helpful. Our waiting rooms are large enough that having one TV that is big enough and with sound loud enough would be tough.

On the other hand, I think given the ubiquity of patients' personal smartphones and tablets, we could do a lot better job of organizing and promoting relevant content in playlists. Looping @FarrisTimimi – maybe we could organize a pilot in one specialty.

Perhaps you could use a QR Code poster at the desk, which is super mobile friendly, which leads patients ( if they want) to a department specific video content page on your site :o) !

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@LeeAase

Interesting thoughts. We've talked about perhaps how having videos available on iPads in the exam rooms to prep patients/families on specific issues might be helpful. Our waiting rooms are large enough that having one TV that is big enough and with sound loud enough would be tough.

On the other hand, I think given the ubiquity of patients' personal smartphones and tablets, we could do a lot better job of organizing and promoting relevant content in playlists. Looping @FarrisTimimi – maybe we could organize a pilot in one specialty.

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Agree-we should chat-I suspect that there is both interest and opportunity to do so.

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