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W2O Group’s 3rd Annual HIMSS Social Conversation Report: Not your mother’s #HIMSS15 social media analysis

What do you get when you mix tens of thousands of healthcare IT’s most influential experts with today’s increasingly social conference atmosphere? An incredibly unique and unmatched opportunity to identify key trends in digital health and health IT overall, and a perfect laboratory to study industry conversation and market shifts through social data analysis.

For today’s healthcare and technology business leaders, using social media to understand how market conversations are trending and how to reach and engage with top influencers is no longer optional. And when it comes to the intersection of healthcare technology and social media, the HIMSS Conference and Expo is undeniably where it’s at, and the power that lies in its corresponding social data and conversation analysis is truly greater than ever before.

HIMSS’15 convened more than 43,000 of the health IT industry’s forefront thought leaders, influencers, movers and shakers and garnered nearly 83,000 tweets – or more, depending on the timeframe of measurement used – all driving social engagement on and around the #HIMSS15 hashtag.

Having been locked in the basement since the event, our W2O analytics wizards have been diving in and churning through the plethora of social data from this year’s conference. Drawing out notable takeaways and offering expert analysis, our #HIMSS15 Social Conversation Report helps today’s business leaders and healthcare communicators target their engagement strategy, optimize their social investments and better understand the ever-changing digital health ecosystem.

HIMSS’15: Social conversation analysis

So just what was the beat on the HIMSS’15 social street? How has the conversation grown in relation to prior events? What individuals and companies have made the biggest leaps forward with their #HIMSS15 social footprints in relation to previous events? How are physicians and patients factoring in to the social conversation? Let’s find out!

Per the below, between 2012 and 2014, the HIMSS social conversation rose consistently year over year. While 2015 saw continued growth in social conversations overall, it also saw a steep decline in the number of unique individuals who were a part of that conversation. Further, the rate of year over year conversation growth slowed from 55 percent between 2013 and 2015 to 11 percent between 2014 and 2015. Could the astronomical rise of social conversation at HIMSS be leveling off? (Fig. 1)

Fig 1 Conversation Slow Down

Fig 1.

Note: Want to know how the top health tech brands performed in terms of social impact and influence at HIMSS 15? For a rich analysis on the most influential companies at this year’s event, as well as more detail around those key social influencers driving the conversation around electronic health records (EHRs), telehealth, mobile health and wearables, please reach out to W2O Practice Leader, Rob Cronin, here, or see below for additional information.

Another interesting fact that we came across in our analysis was related to the relatively small proportion of tweeps who were driving social engagement for the conference as a whole. In looking at the chart below, 50 percent of the HIMSS social conversation was driven by just 4 percent of the individuals engaging, and just the top 1 percent drove 30 percent of the conversation. This is slight a change from 2014, which saw 50 percent of the conversation driven by 3 percent of the individuals engaging in conversation, and the top 1 percent of individuals driving 3 percent of the conversation. This tells us that, though it has increased slightly, it is still a very small group of “power users” and engaged tweeps who are driving at least half of the HIMSS social engagement (Fig. 2). This is yet another illustration of the 1-9-90 rule of influence that W2O Group has measured and reported on across multiple industries (Fig 3).

Fig 2 - Few Individuals Drive ConvoFig. 2

Fig 3 - 1 9 90Fig. 3

There is no denying that connectivity between patients and caregivers is increasing as providers continue to embrace health IT adoption and include in the care delivery process. And as the industry moves to a value based care framework, whose success is rooted in interoperability and the expanded use cases for EHRs and health data, it is not surprising to see a rise in the number of clinicians becoming active participants in the health IT conversation. And as we’ve seen per the tremendous growth in our own MDigitalLife Health Ecosystem (#healthecosystem), more and more physicians are, in fact, becoming increasingly active in the healthcare social media space.

When looking at the HIMSS’15 conversation, we were pleased to see this trend was reflected here as well. In spite of the slowdown in total HIMSS social conversations overall as compared to past years (see first image above), as we see below, physician participation in the HIMSS conversation continues to steadily rise, both among physicians who have participated in the HIMSS conversations in past years, as well as among newcomers to the conversation. (Fig. 4)

Fig 4 - Physician RelevanceFig. 4

Additionally, the #HIMSS15 hashtag was used by nearly 350 unique practicing physicians. As a point of comparison, in the past year*, the #MGMA14 hashtag was only used by 22 unique practicing physicians, #ACHE2015 by 21 unique practicing physicians and #ACC2015 by 52 unique practicing physicians. The #ASCO2014 hashtag, however, was used by 441 unique practicing physicians; though the attendee make up of that event is primarily clinicians, a stark contrast to HIMSS.

Key takeaway? The fast growing and relatively high physician engagement rate at HIMSS shows just how invested clinicians are in advancing the health IT conversation.

As for the new kids on the HIMSS block, we looked at who “stepped up to the mic” this year in terms of the HIMSS conversation (see slide #6 in embedded deck below). A few highlights in terms of the individuals and solutions who increased their engagement in the HIMSS conversation the most this year are:

Individuals:
Michael Crone: New to the HIMSS scene. Business development at Emids. Engagement was primarily retweets.
Bill Bunting: Went from near zero to hero this year. Director of healthcare solutions at EMC.
HIT Conference Guy: Also a new kid on the HIMSS block. Active content curator.
La Lupus Lady – Well known patient advocate. Minor participation a couple years ago, but active this year.
Regina Holliday: Not new to the space, but Regina more than doubled her participation in the HIMSS social conversation since last year. Data access for all!
Vendors:
ClinicSpectrum: Medical billing services provider new to the HIMSS conversation. Took first place for vendor participation growth.
TruClinic: Telehealth platform. Active social participation.
Dell: The company stepped up its social presence at the conference, engaging attendees and encouraging them to stop by their booth.
Intel Health: Account has existed since 2008, yet this was their first time participating in the HIMSS conversation.
Mayo Innovation: First time tweeting at HIMSS as well. Demonstrative of Mayo Clinic’s increasing digital footprint and growing social reach.

In terms of the HIMSS tweeps who were mentioned most in the #HIMSS15 conversation, as you’ll see below, HIMSS, Healthcare IT News, Brian Ahier, Farzad Mostashari and Deloitte garnered more social mentions from individual accounts tweeting at the event. However, Regina Holliday garnered more mentions among leading digital health influencers – or, those who are the most influential socially across the healthcare IT landscape on Twitter — including: Wen Dombrowski, Dave deBronkart and John Sharp. These individuals, who are all actively engaged in conversations around the patient role in HIT advancement — are a further indication that patient engagement is becoming an increasingly integral part of the health IT conversation. (Fig. 5)

Which social handles were mentioned most in 2015?

Fig 5 - Most Mentioned Handles

Fig. 5

When looking below at hashtags that had the biggest spikes in use as compared to previous HIMSS conversations, #engage4health and #physicians saw growth in number of mentions. While the former supports the increased focus on – and importance of – patient engagement, the latter highlights physicians’ increasing alignment with and participation in the health IT conversation. Another hashtag to note is #dataindependenceday, the popularity of which is a testament to the strength of Regina Holliday’s message of enabling health record data access for all. It is also worth noting that #HITchicks usage grew this year, a hashtag that supports women leadership and female participation in healthcare IT and the HIT conversation. (Fig. 6)

Which hashtags had the biggest spikes in use?

Fig 6 - Most Mentioned HashtagsFig. 6

Additionally, #HITsmCIO was another new-to-the-scene hashtag this year. This @W2OGroup-initiated tag focuses on health system CIO engagement in social media, and was created to celebrate and educate on how health IT leaders are using SoMe to drive improvement throughout the industry. Including social powerhouses CHIME CIO of the year, Sue Schade, from the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers (@sgschade), Dr. Rasu Shrestha, chief innovation officer at UPMC, Will Weider, chief information officer at Ministry Health Care (@CandidCIO) and David Chou, chief information officer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (@dchou1107), the #HITsmCIO community is harnessing the power of social to drive innovation and quality across the healthcare continuum. For more details, including a summary of our first-annual reception held the night before HIMSS on April 12, 2015, please see here.

In terms of health IT solutions providers who stepped up their website-engagement-via-social game, Deloitte was highly successful at driving users from social media onto its own digital properties. Conversely, although Walgreens and IBM successfully garnered conversation, they were not nearly as successful at driving individuals to their respective sites via their #HIMSS15 social participation. (Fig. 7)

A few notable mentions include:
Healthcare IT News: The premier publication of HIMSS. Created substantial content during the conference.
HIMSS Conference: A highly shared, in-conference resource.
Deloitte: The content winner of the conference – by a long shot. Created highly sharable content that drove attendees to share infographics, blog posts, research findings and poignant social media posts.
HIT Consultant: Created a mix of sharable and rich conference-focused content throughout the conference.
• MedCity News: Conference-focused editorial content drove shares.
YouTube: A mix of interviews and promotional videos were shared more this year.
Forbes: Bruce Japsen, John Osborn, Larry Husten, Louis Columbus, Matthew Herper and Nicole Fisher drove numerous articles shares within the health IT community.

Which domains were shared the most in 2015?

Fig 7 - Most Shared DomainsFig. 7

Another trend we followed was around the domains which garnered the greatest gains – in terms of social shares per user – from 2014 to 2015. Translation: we looked at the site properties whose number of shares increased the most from previous years to 2015. Once again, Deloitte was highly successful at driving shares of owned digital properties, but also improved significantly since its efforts in 2014. Other significant improvements include, HIT Consultant, MedCity News, HIMSS, Healthcare IT News and HealthIT.gov. (Fig 8)

In looking closer at Health IT.gov, the federal site shared more content – including more of its own content and links to its own site properties – and took on a more active role as an industry educator and social engagement leader at this year’s event. Another account who stepped up their game, in addition to Deloitte and HealthIT.gov, was HIT Consultant, who was very successful increasing the amount of content shared that drove traffic back to its online properties. Lastly, Cerner was notably the only EHR vendor included on both our list of top shared domains and biggest domain share increases from 2014 to 2015. This showcases a great opportunity for EHR organizations across the board to improve and refine their content and social engagement strategy to connect with this influential audience.

Which domains saw the greatest increase in number of shares in 2015?

Fig 8 - Domain Share IncreaseFig. 8

It wouldn’t be HIMSS without an announcement around meaningful use! The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their draft meaningful use rule – that reduces the requirement that providers have 5 percent of their patients electronically download, view and transmit their medical record to a single patient – days before HIMSS, and as expected, this drew a lot of conversation on the topic. Regina Holliday, Sherry Reynolds, Mandi Bishop, Susan Brown, Charles Webster and Wen Dombrowski, among many others, were all active participants in the meaningful use conversation at HIMSS 15, with CMS, the ONC and Brian Ahier adding to that list of those who were also mentioned the most in relation to MU at HIMSS. (Fig. 9)

Meaningful use: Who drove the conversation?

Fig 9 - MU Convo DriversFig. 9

As noted previously, patient engagement was another topic gaining traction in the HIMSS 15 conversation this year, and we wanted to know who the most active tweeps were from an engagement standpoint, as well as who was mentioned most by others in patient-related conversations.

Not surprisingly, patient engagement strategist and health technology consultant, Jan Oldenburg, drove the conversation around patient engagement, followed closely by patient data rights advocate Regina Holliday. Clinicspectrum and Get Real Health were two of the solutions providers most active in the patient engagement conversation. (Fig. 10)

Patient engagement: Who drove the conversation?

Fig 10 - Patient Engage Convo DriversFig. 10

Not only has the conversation around patient engagement as it relates to HIT increased at this year’s event, but patient-related topics are also heavily rooted in discussions around health records and health data information ownership, with patient engagement being increasingly aligned with notions of transparency and access. In looking deeper at the health records/patient empowerment conversation, overall, we see that conversations about health records continues to rise, and is actually one of the key conversations related to patients at HIMSS’15.

As can be seen below, access, support, rights, own and need are all among the top terms used in the patient and patient engagement conversation at HIMSS’15. Additionally, the number of conversations about these topics rose incredibly fast since 2014, and with data and records appearing near the top of the list as well, it becomes clear that patients are increasingly associating empowerment and engagement with health data and EHR/EMR records access. While there was a slight dip in the number of people talking about patient engagement from 2014 to 2015, it still remains the single most discussed topic surrounding the patient perspective/experience. (Fig. 11)

Patient empowerment and data ownership: A growing trend

Fig 11 - Patient Empowerment TrendFig. 11

While survey also ranked very high in terms of growth, there are always a good amount of these documents released at events, and this year was no different. One such survey that received a lot of social engagement was Deloitte’s Survey of US Physicians, which provided data-driven insights on how physicians view the healthcare system healthcare reform. Last, but certainly not least, as can be seen in the continued increase of electronic as part of the patient-focused conversation, the divide between the business of health IT and those whom it is built to truly benefit is definitely shrinking.

And there you have it! Well, most of it, as we saved some of the real meat for those data geeks and organizations looking for a deeper analysis on key trends and eye-opening takeaways – including influencer and engagement metrics around mHealth, wearables and telehelath – as well as more insight around which companies were the biggest winners – and losers – in the social engagement and social influence game. For a deeper dive into the research and to set up media briefings, please contact:
• Rob Cronin, Practice Leader, Technology and Digital Health (@robcroninNY)
• Jen Long,
Group Director, Technology and Digital Health (@jensparklong)
• Jenny Laurello,
Senior Manager, Technology and Digital Health (@jennylaurello)

W2O Group’s HIMSS’15 Social Conversation Report

And for more @W2OGroup research, including our analysis of socially active hospital and health system CIOs (#HITsmCIO), please see here and visit our MDigitalLife Health Ecosystem to learn more!

“You have to get your on-base percentage (OBP) up, or else you better be making every single play defensively.” – New York Yankees Announcer.

When I heard this quote during a Yankees game, I couldn’t help but realize Major League Baseball (MLB) and W2O Group firms approach their “sports” similarly.

We both leverage analytics to identify, assess and “recruit” people to enhance our offensive capabilities.

While the MLB recruits top athletes to build winning teams, WCG, tWist and Brewlife use analytics to “recruit” active and trusted industry thought leaders who share a topic of interest with our clients. We analyze online conversations and trends that are relevant to our clients’ businesses to understand who is contributing to dialogue and influencing the most people on the subject. As a result, this informs our decisions and strategies with the intent of building relationships to form a winning “team.” Answers to key questions help us build the best team, including:

How active are these thought leaders on social channels? What is their reach and relevance? What types of content do they create and share? How many people share their content, or value them as thought leaders?

Our goal is to find and subsequently build relationships with people who are respected in a particular field and may be interested in engaging with and sharing content we develop with our clients. Their support positively impacts overall company performance and, over time, its corporate reputation. We refer to this process as influencer engagement, and use it to hit homeruns for our clients.

For a recent influencer engagement program, our Analytics and MDigitalLife teams compiled and leveraged data to build a team of online thought leaders (including physicians) among specific areas of health: epilepsy and mental health. Over a three-month timeframe, our Media & Engagement team built relationships with them via Twitter by engaging with their content and sharing program-specific content on behalf of the client. The influencers eventually engaged, which opened relationship opportunities for the client. Results of this program exceeded key performance indicators, such as number of identified influencers who engaged, and content reached thousands of relevant followers, including physicians. The most rewarding moment, however, happened when the chairman of the Department of Neurology at a major medical center retweeted our content; that was like having the Derek Jeter of our sport hit a homerun!

baseball

Just like baseball teams look for a return on investment from their players, we (as well as our clients) strive to provide a return on engagement from identified thought leaders. In other words, the more players or thought leaders that the MLB or W2O Group firms respectively can “get on base,” the more OBP or engagement will increase.

At the end of the day, analytics are the foundation of strategies and decisions across multiple organizations, beyond MLB and W2O Group firms. Incorporating insights that data reveal can be the difference between successfully building a winning team and failing to accomplish this goal. Build your offense with the goal of reaching home plate to help shape your reputation before you’re forced to defend why you’re a thought leader.

As organizations become increasingly analytics-driven, how will you use analytics to hit homeruns?

When it comes to hospital and health system use of social media, “it’s less of a question about whether you should do it; it’s can you afford not to,” noted UPMC’s chief innovation officer, Rasu Shrestha, M.D. (@RasuShrestha), at W2O Group’s inaugural #HITsmCIO Reception on April 12, 2015, in Chicago. Utilizing the capabilities of our robust MDigitalLIfe #Healthecosystem and advanced social analytics, W2O gathered together some of the industry’s forefront thought leaders and social influencers to review the results of our third annual study and hear directly from provider IT leaders on how and why they are using social media.

Social media data and advanced analytics are providing a crisp, new lens through which to view this community and better understand the critical issues that hospital and health system IT leaders face today. Where do they look for information? What are the key issues being discussed? And how are provider IT leaders engaging with their peers and the #Healthecosystem as a whole? This year’s W2O Group report – What Healthcare CIOs are Really Talking About – provides key insights and notable trends on how this community is utilizing Twitter to advance the health IT conversation, engage with their networks and drive awareness and education throughout the industry.

Not surprisingly, when it comes to the most popular topics being discussed among provider CIOs, electronic health records (EHRs) take first place. Following closely behind is mHealth, with other key topics including innovation, big data and Ebola. Being that it was a physician, not a reporter, who broke the story about the Measles outbreak at Disneyland via Twitter earlier this year, the fact that Ebola was also one of the top topics in our CIO community supports just how important a role social can plan in terms of improving public health awareness and communication among both clinicians and provider executives.

Top 5 Topics

We also looked at the growth in trending topics among the community. As you’ll see, mental health and innovation had the highest growth year to year, a strong indicator of two areas that are becoming an increasingly important part of the healthcare technology conversation. The chart below also shows the rise in discussion about cancer, leadership and healthcare IT social media (#HITsm), as well as many others:

Percentage Growth

To better understand who CIOs are engaging with, we looked at both the most retweeted and most followed among the community. In terms of the most retweeted, they are:

  1. Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar), CMO at Extreme Networks
  2. Eric Topol (@EricTopol), cardiologist and Medscape editor-in-chief
  3. Brian Ahier (@ahier), Director of Standards and Government Affairs at Medicity
  4. Farzad Mostashari, M.D., (@Farzad_MD), former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and founder of Aledade, Inc.
  5. The New York Times (@nytimes)

CIOS

As you’ll also see included in the image above, the most followed CIOs and CMIOs are:

  1. John Halamka, M.D. (@jhalamka), Chief Information Officer, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)
  2. Will Weider (@CandidCIO), Chief Information Officer, Ministry Health Care
  3. Luis Saldana, M.D. (@lsaldanamd),Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Texas Health Resources
  4. Dirk Stanley, M.D. (@dirkstanley), Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Cooley Dickinson Hospital
  5. David Chou (@dchou1107) Chief Information Officer, University of Mississippi Medical Center

In terms of the most @mentioned CIOs, Dr. Halamka is one again at the top of the list, with two Texas Health Resources’ social power houses coming in next. The top five list includes the following (though please be sure to check out the presentation below for more information and the expanded list):

  1. John Halamka, M.D. (@jhalamka), Chief Information Officer, BIDMC
  2. Edward Marx (@marxists), Chief Information Officer, Texas Health Resources
  3. Luis Saldana, M.D.,(@lsaldanamd) Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Texas Health Resources
  4. Sue Schade (@sgschade), Chief Information Officer, University of Michigan Health System
  5. David Chou,(@dchou1107) Chief Information Officer, University of Mississippi Medical Center

 Most Mentioned

Additionally, as you see above on the bottom half of the slide image, CIOs are sharing more information from top tier, national media outlets than trade publications. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Washington Post and Harvard Business Review produce the most frequently linked to content by this community. As for the most liked to trade media outlets, these include Healthcare IT News, FierceHealthIT, Becker’s Hospital Review, iHealthBeat and CIO.com

Being that this is social use that we’re analyzing, what about the blogs, you ask? In terms of the most linked-to blogs, Kevin Pho, M.D.’s blog (@KevinMD) was shared the most among this community, with top articles related to both personal health and healthcare technology, with HIStalk and The Health Care Blog coming in next. The top five most shared blogs includes:

  1. KevinMD.com
  2. HIStalk
  3. The Health Care Blog
  4. Gates Notes
  5. EMR and HIPAA

We also looked at provider CIO following patterns and discovered that our community is engaged with a mix of industry organizations, government entities, leading trade outlets and thought leaders, including HIMSS, ONC, Healthcare IT News, TedMed, and Farzad Mostashari, M.D. Additionally, organizations including Cerner and EMC Healthcare are among the top accounts who are following the CIO community.

Following Patterns

Still hungry for more analytics goodness? Please see the presentation below for our full research report be sure to follow @W2OGroup and #HITsmCIO for the latest findings, news and updates from our community!

For a deeper dive into the research and to set up media briefings, please contact:

As healthcare IT leaders across the industry gear up to let their geek flags fly at HIMSS15 next week in Chicago, here at W2O Group, that means it’s time to share the results from our third annual survey detailing “What Health System CIOs Really Care About.” Utilizing rich social analytics within our community of the nation’s most-socially engaged hospital and health system IT leaders, this year’s report provides key insights and notable trends on what provider CIOs, CMIOs, CINOs and other hospital and health system technology chiefs are sharing and caring about when it comes to using social – Twitter, specifically – to advance the health IT conversation and engage with their networks.

What did our social analytics team discover this year? How did it compare to last year’s results? Below are a few key findings to wet your HIT social media whistle until the full report is released on Monday, April 13. (Be sure to follow #HITsmCIO and @W2OGroup on Twitter for more information before, during, and after HIMSS15 for more insights and updates from our MDigitalLife #healthecosystem!)

When it comes to the top topics, not surprisingly, electronic health records (EHRs) take first place. Coming in second is mHealth, followed by innovation, big data and Ebola, the latter of which showcases just how important a medium social can be in the realm of public health awareness and communication among today’s hospital and health system IT leaders and their networks.

Top 5 Topics

As for the most mentioned CIOs, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Dr. John Halamka leads the pack with the most @mentions among hospital and health system IT leaders from our MDigitalLife #healthecosystem community. The list of top mentioned CIOs includes:

• John Halamka, MD, Chief Information Officer, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (@jhalamka)
• Edward Marx, Chief Information Officer, Texas Health Resources (@marxists)
• Luis Saldana, Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Texas Health Resources (@lsaladnamd)
• Sue Schade, Chief Information Officer, University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers (@sgschade)
• David Chou, Chief Information Officer, University of Mississippi Medical Center (@dchou1107)

Can’t wait until next week for more research results? Please be sure to follow the #HITsmCIO hashtag on Sunday, April 12, from 5:00pm-7:30pm CDT, as we live tweet from our #HITsmCIO Networking Reception, where we’ll be presenting a first look for some of today’s top CIOs, members of the media, and social influencers across the industry. (Invitation-only event. Please contact W2O Group for more information).

For more information on our 2014 research, please see here, and be sure to follow @W2OGroup and #HITsmCIO on Twitter for the latest updates from our 2015 research!

Greg Matthews (MDigitalLife), Maureen Carlson (GoodScout) & Dede Stefano (MDAnderson) hosted a panel during the #SXW2O Pre-Commerce Summit to announce the release of a new report, “Decoding The Cancer Center Constituent”, exploring the behavioral patterns of Cancer Centers constituents.

“Good Scout Group and MDigital Life came together with a shared belief that data compels your smarter story. Whether it is the ammunition to convince a company you are a right-fit partner or the analytics to craft actionable marketing and media strategies, knowing more can be the differentiator that ignites success. In the spirit of knowing more and doing more with that knowledge, we collectively set out to profile the unique attributes of the cancer center constituent. Decoding The Cancer Center Constituent outlines specific brand preferences, lifestyles and key interests of individuals that currently follow the top 50 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S.” Using MDigitalLife, W2O Group and Good Scout Group conducted a psychosocial profiling study to identify specific behaviors, affinities and conversations of U.S.-based cancer center constituents. The sample set included 10,000 handles following at least one of the top 50 cancer centers.

Matthews explained the need for cancer centers to know their audience, “As healthcare has changed we have seen a real need to understand who our audiences are online.” More important than just knowing who your audience is, knowing what they say and who they follow is crucial. “If you consider who you are following on twitter it actually says a lot about what you like – who you are. By looking at the followers of an organization we can understand what they are about. In this report we looked at the twitter followers for all of the comprehensive cancer centers in the United States and we looked at how the accounts that those folks followed compared to a normative data set. It gave us a sense of how the audiences of the cancer centers are different than the audiences of other organizations.”

Good Scout President, Maureen Carlson shared some key insights from the report with the audience at Pre-Commerce. Based on the cancer center constituents research, 61% of cancer center followers are female, the overall audience tends to be predominantly white/non-hispanic and over 75% are ages 18-45. Top brand affinities included Walgreens, Microsoft & Nordstroms. Carlson explained: “We learned that there is a highly engaged user base, that is very interested and connected to healthcare. Many are engaged users but they are not acting, not donating to these cancer centers. If you look at the top 3 consumer brands you see Walgreens, Microsoft & Nordstroms. We need to know this information in order to align our messages with the brands our constituents are following. We should be looking at this data to cross reference with these brands to understand how we are doing.”

Finally, Dede Stefano, Executive Director of Corporate Alliances at MD Anderson explained the challenges her organization faces, “Our challenge is 2 fold: federal funding for cancer research is flat at best. We also are about to have a crisis because cancer is a disease of the elderly… The good news is people are living longer but that is also the bad news. The population is quickly aging.”

Stefano and her organization see value in the information uncovered in the report, “Reports like this are very important because it gives the ability to target our corporate partners by brand affinity and we want to make sure that our audience is aligned. This report gives us a strategic and tactical way to do that. It gives us the ability to educate our consumers and our brands. We need to use every tool in our arsenal to make these smart decisions. We cannot afford to ignore the data.”
To download the entire report visit http://www.goodscoutgroup.com/decodingcancer/
For more information on our SXW2O events and our speakers, please visit our website: http://w2oevents.com

Advisory Board BadgeI remember reading about it for the first time. I was at Humana, trying to figure out how and whether social media had any place in a healthcare company – or in health, for that matter. I was already familiar with Lee Aase and the work that he was leading at Mayo, but the creation of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media was a pivotal moment.

The idea is a pretty simple one – but it’s also a radical one. The Mayo Clinic was already taking a leadership role in the use of digital communication tools thanks to Lee and medical director Farris Timimi, MD. But rather than keep its knowledge and experience within its own walls and continue to grow its margin of leadership, it made the decision to share what it learned with others in the healthcare space. This, the creation of the Center for Social Media, and ultimately the Social Media Health Network.

Another unusual aspect of the SMHN is that it isn’t just for hospitals and health systems … it’s for all of the health ecosystem. It’s become increasingly clear that focusing on only one aspect of the health system and ignoring the others is something like playing whack-a-mole … a losing proposition. Or, to view the concept more positively, Lee and his team believe that better care and patient outcomes are going to be created by connecting the broader health community – not just working in the realm of its own control. That’s why patients are at the center of the SMHN, along with doctors, hospitals, health insurers, Health IT innovators, researchers, device makers, pharma companies … you get the point. It’s for everybody, and it’s about engaging all parts of the system.

MDLTwitterThat philosophy is one that’s shared by the W2O Group. The work that we do for our clients, we do across the spectrum of health and technology – bringing together a client list that includes companies in every category above, in addition to technology and consumer-oriented companies. I don’t think it’s too big a stretch to say that we see ourselves as the connective tissue (pun intended) of that health ecosystem. By working across the system, we make all  of our clients stronger.

That’s why our MDigitalLife team isn’t focused just on physicians anymore … our indexing now includes the digital footprints for patients, advocacy organizations, hospitals and health systems, the media, and healthcare businesses (like pharmas, payors, device and diagnostic companies, etc) organized around the patient and their needs – in other words, the therapeutic area that matters to the patient. Our first “therapeutic area in the cloud,” breast cancer, includes over 5,000 media outlets and reporters, more than 10,000 physicians, more than 5,000 patients and 1,500 patient advocacy organizations, and several dozen companies who make products specifically for diagnosing, treating and living with breast cancer.

It’s also why I am very, very honored to accept a role on the Mayo Clinic Social Media Health Network’s external advisory board. The board itself is emblematic of this cross-ecosystem approach – with board members who are Patients, HCPs, Researchers, Hospital leaders, and a group of people who apply their special skills as advocates across the healthcare system.

I’m incredibly eager to work with this group of advisors – all of whom I’ve admired for years, and some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with over that time …

SMHN_SocialCard3

So to Ed, Dave, Wendy Sue, Bryan, Meredith, Chris, Shel, Matthew, Reed, Patricia, Kristine, Jeff, Andre, Amanda, David, Dan, Melissa, Claire, Ahava, Cynthia, Lisa, Mike, Christian, Hugh, Bob and Colleen (and of course Lee and Farris): I look forward to working side by side to connect the health ecosystem and deliver better health to all as a result. Bring it on, 2015!

For more information on the advisory board new member announcement see the W2O Press Release.

Las Vegas Sign: Go. Ahead in Health

Earlier this month, W2O Group invited 150 employees in our collective healthcare practice to the second annual “Go. Ahead In Health” summit in Las Vegas. Usually I stick to the idea of what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but in cases like these, it needs to be shared.

This two-day event is evidence that W2O Group is committed to continuing to build a best-in-class, analytics-driven, integrated global offering serving a diverse set of clients from start-ups to world-leading brands in health.

Individuals from our “Long Hallway” shared exciting case studies of integrated work we created for clients. Our very own thought leaders presented industry insights and led informative panel discussions on trends in healthcare. It would have been impossible to leave the summit without a refreshed and more knowledgeable outlook on our business — but that wasn’t the best part.

Featured guest speakers and experts were hands down the highlight of the summit. They left our team enlightened and pondering what was next. Below are quick synopses with links for more information about two panels and our key note speaker that I am sure will also leave you with a sense of ahhh.

ePatient Advocates

ePatient AdvocatesWe know that patient advocacy has evolved. During this panel, we heard from real life patients turned advocates who have brought their journey online and created followings in social media.

The panel gave real-world perspectives on creating change and activism through social channels and explained how social activation of patient advocacy is changing the game and affording our clients with more opportunities to partner and socialize their messages as well.

Check out these ePatient Advocates and the causes they lead:
Sara Nicastro (@saraknic): diabetes patient advocate and founder of MomentsOfWonderful.com
Wendy Campbell (@bandedwendy): LAP-BAND patient and founder of WLS Success Matters
Adam Pick (@heart_valve): health valve patient and founder of HeartValveSurgery.com

The Activated Social MD:

Understanding, engaging and activating physicians online is the premise for W2O Group’s MDigitalLife. At the summit we heard straight from two MDigitalLife doctors. They shared their experiences and journey becoming media entities, not that they considered themselves as media before. But W2O’s Greg Matthews’ new eBook Missing the Forest for the Trees, now has us looking at them as Media Influencers.

Activated Social MDBoth doctors agreed that Twitter has become not only a tool for news, but a critical piece of the puzzle in treating patients. Dr. Attai said it best: “Patients often don’t tell the whole story at the doctor visit – social media allows us to hear the patient’s voice.” She has found, when talking to breast cancer patients in-office, for one reason or another, patients hold back. On the flip side, when patients go online they open up to the world. Using social media allows her to get the whole picture on how patients in general are dealing with their diseases and can use that information when talking with her patients.

Both doctors are leaders in women’s health and are great examples of thought leaders growing through social media:
Deanna Attai, M.D. (@DrAttai): Breast Surgeon affiliated with UCLA Health Burbank Breast CareLinda Pourmassina, M.D. (@LindaP_MD): Internal Medicine Physician, Women’s Health Columnist with the Seattle Times and Co-Chair ACP Washington Chapter Women in Medicine Committee.

Keynote Speaker:
Hiding in Plain Sight: The Future of Healthcare
Joon Yun, M.D. and President, Palo Alto Investors

Have you ever thought of aging as a disease? I never have. Dr. Joon Yun presented a very intriguing argument and is leading the effort to recognize the science to hack the aging process.

Dr Joon YunDr. Yun is a renowned investor and Managing Partner and President of Palo Alto Investors, LLC, a hedge fund founded in 1989 with over $1 billion in assets under management. He is also the Benefactor of the Palo Alto Longevity Prize, a $1M Life Science competition that challenges teams from all over the world to “hack the code” that regulates our health and life span. The idea behind adaptive homeostatic capacity will make you think.

If you are ready to have your mind blown, check out the video at Palo Alto Longevity Prize. It will have you thinking about what is next and jumping to invest more in your 401k.

Another topic he discussed that will get you thinking is the idea of Second-hand Stress. Read his blog post and tell your chronically stressed-out co-workers to take a chill pill.

Missing the forest for the trees

This is a question that we healthcare communicators have been fielding from clients (and, frankly, discussing among ourselves) since the advent of social media as we try to engage with healthcare professionals.

Some have maintained that physicians’ level of tech-savvy rivals the quality of their handwriting – not so great. Forced to be connected only by the mandate of electronic health records, physicians aren’t active online due to packed appointment schedules, privacy concerns or the desire to remain unbiased as related to their health system or practice.

A new report by my colleague Greg Matthews, called “Missing the Forest For the Trees”, lays this old stereotype to bed. According to a 2012 study by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, cited by Matthews, 61% of physicians scan social media for medical information weekly, while another 46% contribute to that information on a weekly basis. In addition, online social channels are having an impact on clinical decisions – according to a Manhattan Research study also cited in the book, 39% of doctors say that the information they receive from social channels is influential to very influential on their clinical decisions.

I don’t want to give away too much of “Missing the Forest For the Trees” – it’s a quick, worthwhile read – but all these stats point to our need, as healthcare companies and communicators, to be online learning from and engaging with doctors. Physician-directed content strategy for platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn, will be seen by physicians, and sponsored ads make it easier than ever to target the right ones. Matthews makes another critical point – there is a tremendous opportunity for companies to harness the power of online physician advocates, engaging them to spread the word about our therapy, device or awareness building effort. Physicians are our “citizen” journalists.

Matthews has led the development of MDigitalLife, a database that has indexed the digital footprints of nearly a half-million physicians around the world. This data can be harnessed by healthcare companies in a myriad of ways including influencer identification and conversation analysis. MDigitalLife is also a great source for research about physician online activity with a treasure trove of free resources on its website.

Social media is not new, but this way of thinking about physicians on social media is, and healthcare companies who engage physicians through social media very well may find a new partner in spreading the word.

For a free copy of “Missing the Forest For the Trees” please visit http://bit.ly/missingtheforest. And, to learn more about MDigitalLife, go to MDigitalLife.com.

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The most exciting innovation of the connected health era is … people talking to each other.”

Susannah Fox from Peer-to-peer health care is a slow idea that will change the world on susannahfox.com, August 3, 2013

The concept of the empowered patient isn’t a new one – in fact, that characterization has evolved rapidly over the last several years. According to Health Online 2013 (Pew Internet & American Life Project, Susannah Fox) patients have actually advanced their level of empowerment from simple information-seeking to actual diagnosis – acceding to the report, 35% of American adults can now be classified as “Online Diagnosers.”

“As physicians, we have a moral responsibility to weigh in on dangerous inaccuracies in the media … Imagine a simple comment from … each of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 65,000 pediatricians. We are in a position to own the search engines through our collective participation.” 

Bryan Vartabedian, MD from Participating in the conversation: A physician’s responsibility. Baylor College of Medicine Blog, August 7, 2013

We’ve seen a parallel movement among physicians in terms of online activity. Driven by a number of environmental factors. One of the most important is to balance the enormous amount of misinformation and spam online masquerading as health information – because doctors have the knowledge and experience to set the balance right. 

These two trends have begun to collide as never before. The best doctors are often the best students – they literally never stop learning and improving. Many of these leading-edge physicians have recognized that one of the greatest sources of learning are patients themselves.

“I do interact with patients online … I like to hear the stories about health issues they’re facing, and to follow their journeys … It helps me to understand what patients expect – or at least hope for – from their doctors.”

Danielle Jones, MD. Danielle Jones, MD – The MDigitalLife Interview. September 21, 2012

We’re now seeing a migration from relatively segregated Patient-Patient and Doctor-Doctor communities to online communities where both mingle freely, sharing and learning together. One of the most fascinating places to map that circumstance is on twitter, where the study of direct conversations between doctors and patients can be visualized to help us understand how those networks function. 

[If you have trouble viewing the embedded social network map, you can go directly to http://bit.ly/epatientdoc]

To create the chart below, we looked at the twitter conversations of 89 prominent ePatients and ePatient advocates to see how often they used the twitter handle (e.g., @DrAttai) of one of the more than 14,000 validated US physicians tracked in the MDigitalLife database. We then looked at the tweets from the 297 doctors mentioned by the ePatients, and identified every instance in which one of the ePatients was mentioned.

Using Google Fusion Charts, we were able to visualize those interactions to show the interconnectedness between the ePatients (yellow dots) and physicians (blue dots). Feel free to play around with the chart by dragging network nodes to change its shape, and buy changing the filters to show more or fewer nodes. 

While it’s difficult to gain many insights from viewing every single interaction, we found that when we looked only at doctors and patients who had interacted with each other at least 15 times, identifiable clusters began to emerge. A few examples:

  • There are clear communities based on therapeutic areas such as breast cancer (@DrAttai), heart health (@HugoOC) and blood cancers (@myelomateacher)
  • While there may be fewer online interactions outside the specialty/therapeutic area classification, ePatients and advocates like Dave DeBronkart (@ePatientDave) and Lisa Field (@PracticalWisdom) have a massive number of connections to the physician community, with no apparent focus on specialty
  • To a lesser degree, doctors like Bryan Vartabedian (@doctor_v), Howard Luks (@hjluks) have significant connections in the ePatient community that have little to do with their medical specialties (pediatric gastroenterology and orthopedic surgery respectively)

While it’s premature to assume that we fully understand the nature of those interactions, we can generalize in saying that these bellwether patients and doctors get benefit from their interactions in a more “meta” sense – they’re exploring the very nature of the evolving doctor-patient relationship.

I’ll end this post with a quote from one of my co-panelists at this week’s Digital Health Summit:

“Patients often only bring their narratives to the dialogue. If we want to get a proper seat at the table we need to do better than that.” 

Hugo Campos, ePatient Advisor, Stanford Medicine X

I’m fortunate to be on a panel at this week’s Digital Health Summit at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with leading ePatients Hugo Campos and Donna Cryer; moderated by health technology thought leader Neil Versel  If you’re interested, you’ll definitely want to follow along with the #DHCES hashtag on twitter on Wednesday and Thursday, January 8 and 9. Our panel will be at 4:10 PM PST/1:10 PM EST on Wednesday the 8th, and is entitled “Loudmouth Patients: Making Noise and Making Change.”

With special thanks to the brilliance and hard work of Ben McKown and Yash Gad – they make data do strange and wonderful things!