Social Media Week Event Wrap Up: The Impact of Social Media in Healthcare

Feb 15

This morning we welcomed more than 100 social media and health enthusiasts to the Ogilvy Washington office for our social media week panel, The Impact of Social Media in Healthcare.

The panelists and audience discussed many facets of the same challenge: leveraging social to improve health.

A few highlights and common threads throughout the morning:

Using online interaction to foster offline action. Amy O’Connor of Eli Lilly noted that as her key driver – a much better way to define success than, for example, number of Twitter followers. On a similar note, Danielle Leach of Inspire brought up a case in which a group of women with spontaneous coronary artery dissection connected online and successfully advocated for the Mayo Clinic to create a patient pool of information on the condition.

Creating connections that aren’t likely to happen offline. Ogilvy’s Rebecca Davis emphasized the power of social media surrounding The Heart Truth campaign to bring people together. Danielle noted that people go online looking for people who are experiencing what they are experiencing.

Building community is not based on one-way brand-driven marketing. Joel Selzer of Ozmosis stressed the importance of basic two-way conversation, and Amy shared that she builds community by sharing the voice of others who you agree with rather than just the voice of the organization.


Regulation is a struggle. As one of the most highly regulated industries, we are constantly challenged to be impactful without violating FDA and other regulations or revealing patient information. Adapting engagement in order to be successful is crucial – Amy recommended talking about holistic issues, not products, so that engagement in real time is possible. Joel also endorsed the approach of taking calculated swings to foster a discussion that steers clear of adverse events and off label discussion.

Listening is essential. Rebecca highlighted the importance of listening, not only to identify potential red flags, but also so that senior executives can be educated on the existing conversation. On that note, she also mentioned the necessity for collaboration between web content developers and social media managers – if social media managers know where demand lies, an organization can streamline its content development and ensure that there will be interest.

Defining success is crucial. Amy asks herself who her target audience is and if she is reaching them. Joel aims to improve patient care and reduce costs. Rebecca brought up designating diagnostics that align with key performance indicators.

Achieving actual change in behavior remains the goal (and a challenge!). Danielle pointed out that people are connecting regardless of the stage of change that they’re in, while Rebecca touched on the importance of inspiring in people the motivation to change their behavior.


The future is about streamlining. Amy noted that bureaucracy within our organizations gets in the way, and Joel pointed out that moving beyond social media to social business that makes life easier for health care providers and other entities is where he sees the industry moving.

Like any good discussion, the crowd and panel raised as many questions as they answered. An audience member brought up the importance of prevention, and panelists acknowledged that reaching unengaged audiences is a challenge. Moderator Dana Allen-Greil asked if we’ve actually figured out how social media can improve health – something I think we’re all still refining as we go.

Thanks to everyone who attended the panel, and if you could not attend, view the tweets that made #smwhc a trending topic in DC. You can connect with our panelists at @danamuses @makegood @jbselz @LillyPad and @TeamInspire.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 at 7:54 pm and is filed under Behavior Change, HCSM, Ogilvy Washington, Social Marketing, Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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