Editor's Note: Lisa Ramshaw is the first Silver Fellow in the Social Media Health Network and a member of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media External Advisory Board. Last week we announced our first International Healthcare and Social Media Summit, which we'll be holding in September in Brisbane, Australia. Lisa has been instrumental in developing and bringing the vision of this Summit to reality.
Today, as Director, Communications & Marketing for the Australian Private Hospitals Association, I advise our 300 hospital members about social and digital media strategies and tactics. But six years ago, Australia was not only far from the U.S. geographically, but also far behind in its thinking about digital media.
In 2009, I undertook an audit for APHA to discover who was using social media to talk about Australian healthcare in general and private hospitals in particular. The voices were few and far between, so I set out to change that through APHA. I now use Facebook to communicate with patients and others connected to our member hospitals. On Twitter , I’ve connected with those who set the healthcare agenda in Australia.
All the while, I’ve kept an eye on what was happening in the U.S. relative to online social networking. In 2011, APHA became the first Australian organisation to become a member of the Social Media Health Network.
I’ve been fortunate to attend the last two Social Media Weeks in Rochester and hope to attend again in June. During the 2013 meeting I learned social media hands-on during the Mayo Social Media Residency Program and heard case studies from passionate advocates for using social media in healthcare.
Once back home in Australia, I put to use what I learned from the case studies and ran social media training sessions (much like the Social Media Residencies) in each state of Australia. And this only reinforced my sense that we still lag behind in Australia. While some individuals are accomplishing great things with social media, we’ve yet to create a platform or gathering to share and connect. Until now. #MayoInOz, scheduled for September 2015, will be that gathering.
The #MayoInOz program committee has representatives from each state and territory in Australia, a mix of people from the public and private sectors. We’re organizing a conference designed to excite, educate and demonstrate the power of social media to healthcare providers in Australia, no matter where they work or what they do.
Personally, I hope this conference will help move us into a debate about why all health care needs to be connected, collaborative, and anchored in community. There are so many reasons why social media and health care are a good fit, I look forward to exploring them with the delegates and presenters at #MayoInOz.