Digital Strategies for Healthcare Organisations


“Find your voice, and inspire others to find theirs.” Stephen Covey

In the last post we covered in some detail the Social Media situation in Australian Healthcare (and separately an Infographic Overview of the United States). Some of the biggest reasons healthcare organisations don't use Social Media are summarised below;
  • fear of litigation
  • lack of knowledge, skills, training
  • lack of organisational policy
  • cultural issues
  • resistance to change
When developing a Digital Strategy for an organisation these aspects can not be ignored. They must be identified, so that appropriate solutions can be formed for that organisation. As was noted previously a social media strategy will be most successful if lead from the top and powered from the bottom (i.e. all staff).

In this post we quickly go over social media technologies, an introduction to Digital Strategies and a case example of a successful governmental digital strategy.

Social Media Technologies
There are many social media technologies available for organisations and individuals to choose from. For the purpose of this post, I shall reframe from listing all these technologies (as these things change in time) and instead focus on the idea of key functional groups. In a digital strategy these tools can be split into three main categories;
  1. Foundational - Core social computing technologies, including blogs and wikis. 
  2. Vertical Tools - specialised Web 2.0 technologies.
  3. Online Networks – Active engagement, feedback and timely dissemination of information.

 
In a previous HCSMANZ CHAT we talked Beyond Twitter & Facebook which overviews some of the other services utilised by health consumers & advocates. For a more complete list click here.
More broadly we discussed nearly a year ago integrating Social Media into Public Health. Which highlighted the great use of Social Media by the CDC and 8 other Great Health Campaigns.

9 ways social media is impacting the business of healthcare
An interesting read from Healthcare Finance News.
  1. Communication is shifting to public, more open forums.
  2. Patients (or consumers) are taking a more active role in their healthcare.
  3. Increased access to information means patients are demanding more transparency.
  4. More instant feedback can help both consumers and organisations.
  5. Social information is impacting how and when patients select treatment and providers.
  6. Social media allows for higher levels of trust.
  7. Social media is evolving from a marketing tool into a business strategy.
  8. Providers can use social media as an outcomes-based measurement.
  9. Health insurers can use social media to help focus on population health. 

Digital Strategies
If you have no internet presence at all, anyone can control your internet presence. @DrVes

This perhaps raises the most crucial point why an organisation or an individual should have an internet presence. It allows you to control it. The Digital Strategy is just plan behind how you hope to bring about that control and the outcomes you would like to see.

Key things to consider:
  1. Who is you audience?
  2. How are you going to reach them?
  3. What are you key messages?
  4. What will you do with inappropriate material? 
  5. Who will implement the strategy?
  6. How will you measure success?

Mike Cadogan is back again (but this time in video format) sharing some of his tips in setting up a digital footprint. Though targeted at setting up a personalised digital footprint, many points carry across to setting up a footprint for an organisation.


In addition, I've adapted a segment of this infographic from KBSD on what organisations can do when they are carrying out a digital strategy.


Local Case Study: Queensland Police Service Media


Overview
In the first 6 months of establishing their Facebook page they gained 8,000 likes, just by sharing interesting information online. Despite the fears of some executives, most of the engagement was extremely positive.

One of the key lessons was that it was critical to have built their social media presence before it was needed. They understood its role and how to use it before the 2011 disaster hit and it became the best possible way to communicate with the public.

There was no master plan. They were just using the tools they had to address the issues of the moment. Policies, as required, were created on the fly. If they got something wrong, they simply apologized and people generally accepted that.

Lessons Learnt
  • If you are not doing social media, do it now. If you wait until its needed, it will be too late
  • Rethink clearance processes. Trust your staff to release information.     
  • Do not treat social media as something special or separate from normal work processes. It should be integrated as standard practice
  • Do not use social media solely to push out information. Use it to receive feedback and involve your online community
  • Established social media sites are free and robust which can handle volumes of traffic much larger than agency websites
  • Ensure that information is accessible. A PDF is not the most accessible way to deliver information. Machine-readable information such as geocoding allows the information to be more accessible and usable for others.

References
  1. gov2qld
  2. 9 ways social media is impacting the business of healthcare - Healthcare Finance News.
  3. KBSD infographic on personal digital footprint. 
  4. QPS Case Study (2011)

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