Healthcare professionals and marketing consultants converged in New York City this month to attend Social Communications & Healthcare; Case Studies and Roundtables, a conference hosted by Business Development Institute. Ira Kaufman, President of Entwine Inc, and I were honored to have been chosen to Moderate Roundtable discussions.

Harnessing the Power of Social MediaHospitals, non-profits, pharmaceutical companies and medical professionals are searching for effective venues to engage patients. They are investigating the application of social media as they are confounded with compliance issues, newly proposed FDA regulations and conservative management. The conference featured case studies of healthcare companies and organizations that are using social media in different contexts.  Some of the companies included:

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

The CDC has been using social media for the past 3 1/2 – 4 years. They integrate health messages from campaigns and interventions using social media to help get the word out.  They use as many formats as possible to be where the people are. The CDC performs a yearly satisfaction survey and they found that visitors who use social media have a higher satisfaction rating (a full 5 points higher) and rate the CDC site as trustworthy.

Johnson & Johnson

J&J uses multiple platforms and integrates them to redefine relationships. They use blogging, video, Facebook and Twitter along with their main websites to engage and contribute to the conversations. J&J also has a successful social community for it’s Diabetes Institute.


Pfizer is very proud of its progress in adopting social media.  They have gone from crawling to walking. Their Twitter feed is one of the top feeds in NYC. They have an active Facebook page, and more importantly their employees can now access Facebook. YouTube is proving to be a big part of their social media strategy.  Pfizer has successfully used social media to do clinical trial recruitment, monitoring and brand protection, as well as drug counterfeiting education.

Our roundtable discussions were focused on Harnessing the Power of Social Media. We challenged participants to consider six new perspectives in using social media platforms in healthcare environments.

  1. Twitter is more than a traditional broadcast tool. It is a powerful conversational initiator. Too many companies only push their brand on social media. Healthcare organizations need to change their mindset and create value to attract visitors.
  2. Twitter and Facebook have very powerful search tools that allow users to gain a real time read on the comments and interest of other users and thought leaders in their targeted space.
  3. Re-tweeting is a powerful distribution mechanism for your content and messages. Testing the effectiveness of different keywords in stimulating re-tweets produces results.
  4. Careful keyword selection and inclusion in blog posts and articles realizes gains in search engine positioning. As each Tweet is a individual  page and optimized by the search engines, targeting your keywords will drive users to your content hub.
  5. Social media has proven to be a very reliable sourcing venue for recruitment. Combining LinkedIn with Twitter and Facebook have produced great results for our team. Our results were recognized when Kissito Healthcare was listed as one of the top fifty employers recruiting with Twitter.
  6. Monitoring your company brand and industry provides opportunities to engage patients and future clients. It serves as an immediate way to track conversations about your brand. Use 3rd party applications to deliver results immediately to your inbox.