Mayo Clinic Launches Center for Social Media

Mayo Clinic announced this week the creation of a Center for Social Media to accelerate effective application of social media tools throughout Mayo Clinic and to spur broader and deeper engagement in social media by hospitals, medical professionals and patients to improve health globally.

The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, a first-of-its-kind social media center focused on health care, builds on Mayo Clinic’s leadership among health care providers in adopting social media tools. Mayo Clinic has the most popular medical provider channel on YouTube and more than 60,000 “followers” on Twitter, as well as an active Facebook page with well over 20,000 connections. With its News Blog, podcast blog and Sharing Mayo Clinic, a blog that enables patients and employees to tell their Mayo Clinic stories, Mayo has been a pioneer in hospital blogging. MayoClinic.com, Mayo’s consumer health information site, also hosts a dozen blogs on topics ranging from Alzheimer’s to The Mayo Clinic Diet.

“Health care has lagged behind other industries in applying social media tools,” says Lee Aase, one of the leaders of the new center. “Social media interest and activity among hospitals and health care professionals has grown remarkably, though, with the number of hospital Twitter accounts, for example, doubling in the last year. Still, according to Ed Bennett’s Hospital Social Networking List, only 762 of the more than 5,000 hospitals in the U.S. have some social networking presence. Mayo Clinic, which has been on FORTUNE Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work For List for seven consecutive years, has been actively using social media tools to engage employees in its business strategies, manage change and share company news. Employees can comment on strategic efforts, ask leaders questions and share their ideas.

“Staff at many hospitals wanting to get involved in social media have pointed to Mayo Clinic’s activity and experience to help make the case for engagement with their senior leaders,” says Victor Montori, M.D., a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and the center’s interim medical director. “Some have even consulted with us informally and asked for advice on implementation. One of our goals for the center is to provide a mechanism for this consultation and sharing, so we can help colleagues in health care everywhere break down the barriers to involvement.”

In addition to reaching out, the center staff will work with Mayo Clinic colleagues to find new and innovative ways to apply social media tools throughout the Mayo system. “We see immense opportunities to use internal social networking tools for collaboration among our employees to improve patient care, education, research and administration,” Aase explains. “As we find new applications, we plan to conduct research into their effects so we can measure any cost savings, efficiency gains and improved effectiveness. And when we do, we’ll be sharing those findings externally to help the whole health system improve.”

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