Blog

[Note: This post offers an exclusive opportunity for doctors to receive an “alpha” version of the Online Activation for Physicians eBook; read on for details]

Face it:  Thinking that a re-tweeting of how much we want more doctors on Twitter by next year is just preaching to the social media choir.  After all, those on social media are already supporters.  How do we get physicians who are not on social media to understand its potential value to them?
– Dr. Westby Fisher, Let’s start a grassroots physician social media movement (via KevinMD.com, December 31, 2013)

Having studied physicians’ online behavior for more than 5 years now, I’ve had a chance to see the highs and lows of their adoption of social media. Doctors like Mike Sevilla, Wendy Sue Swanson, Bryan Vartabedian, and Jordan Grumet have been online for years and years – and seeing them leverage the power of social media to connect, organize and re-establish the voice of the physician in public health dialog has been an incredible inspiration to me and many others. It’s why I started to write about physician innovators under the MDigitalLife banner in 2012, and have featured these folks and many others for their work.

Dr. Westby Fisher is another one of those pioneers – though one I haven’t had the opportunity to meet personally. In the piece that I quoted above (which is a must-read, by the way), Dr. Fisher notes that physician engagement in social media isn’t going to become the norm just because social media is “cool.” It’s only going to happen en masse when more doctors see a clear value proposition in investing their precious time in pursuing that engagement.

I’ve had the opportunity over the last two years to train over 100 doctors in the W2O Group’s “Online Activation” model. As that model has evolved, there are a few things I’ve found to be most impactful in terms of “unlocking” doctors in social media:

  • Spending more time than you’d think on goal-setting … what is it that each person actually hopes to achieve in their career, their practice, their research, etc.
  • Explaining that social media isn’t just about yapping incessantly. Our model has 4 components: Read, Connect, Share and Create – and we don’t even cover the “creation” aspect in the initial coaching session!
  • Removing tactical roadblocks – the most basic “how-to” of using social media tools and channels to achieve each doctor’s “use case”
  • Showing real examples of doctors who are using social media to add value to their particular set of goals

It’s this last item that Dr. Fisher’s blog post called to mind.

Those of us who are believers have to show them a well-organized RSS feed reader containing journal articles and news reports they’re want to say up up to date with and likely read.  We have to show them how to use social media to collaborate (in near real-time) with colleagues to write an article or crowd-source a talk.  We need to show them the contacts — many who they’d recognize — you’ve made around the globe.  Show them how they can lurk and get the information they need without having to expose themselves to any potential legal issues. 
– Dr. Westby Fisher, Let’s start a grassroots physician social media movement (via KevinMD.com, December 31, 2013 – emphasis mine)

To that end, I decided to answer Dr. Fisher’s request – by sharing a bundle of RSS feeds representing the blogs of over 60 doctors (note: this is scratching the surface; we’re tracking over 2,500) using an amazing reading tool called Feedly*. So without further ado, here’s your physician-blogger “starter list” – along with the “alpha” version of the Online Activation Planning for Physicians eBook.

To subscribe to our list of physician blogs:

  1. Sit down at your laptop or desktop computer (This initial step can’t be taken via tablet or smartphone yet. After this initial step, you’ll be able to do everything via web, tablet or smartphone at your discretion).
  2. Download this OPML file you’ll find here [bit.ly/docopml] and save it to your desktop (Don’t try to open it; it’s gobbledygook to look at on its own).

If you’re already a Feedly user:

  1. Log in to your feedly account.
  2. Under the “My Feedly” menu, click “Organize”
  3. Select “Import OPML”
  4. Click “Choose File” and select the file you just downloaded
  5. Click the blue “Import” button

If you’re not a Feedly user, just follow the steps in this Slideshare presentation:

And if you’re a doctor and would like to get a copy of the “alpha” version of the “Online Activation for Physicians” ebook, just complete this form and I’ll email you a copy.

If you’d like to know more about our MDigitalLife program for understanding, engaging and activating physicians online, feel free to email me at gmatthews@wcgworld.com. Thanks to Dr. Fisher for giving the right airtime to this important topic!

*There are many reasons that we use Feedly for this purpose, but the most important ones are: (A) It presents a beautiful and consistent reading experience on the web, tablets and smart-phones. (B) It allows 1-click sharing and saving to any social network or note-taking tool. (C) The Feedly leadership team loves the idea of a reader tool as a part of the revolution in physician communications, and have been working with my team to add new features that support that goal even more seamlessly.

Ever since we launched MDigitalLife at the Mayo Clinic last October (KevinMD Article; Slideshare Presentation), our team at the W2O Group has been going full blast to build out the software platform for creating Custom Search Engines. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, I think that I can get you up to speed pretty quickly with this mini-glossary:

Upside-Down (Audience-Focused) Analytics: “Traditional” social analytics looks at the entire web through a lens of keywords that define a topic in order to fully understand that topic as it lives online, including knowing the people who are talking about it. Audience-focused analytics looks at the web through a lens of a very specific, finite audience in an attempt to understand everything that they say and do. It’s the closest online equivalent we have to the marketing research focus group.

Custom Search Engine: The software that lets us take any list of people or entities, quickly build out the full “digital footprint” for those entities (e.g., web site, blog, twitter, facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.) and then query that database on any subject.

MDigitalLife: The first and only database of physicians’ online profiles that’s tagged to a national physician registry. It allows us to drill into any topic and understand how doctors are talking about it; how often they’re talking about it; to whom they’re talking about it; where they get their most trusted information about it, etc.

With that background, let me introduce the latest entry into the world of custom search engines:

We debuted this data set recently at the Texas Hospital Association’s annual Communications Summit in Austin, Texas and got some terrific feedback. Given the turmoil associated with the US Healthcare system today, we know that understanding the players is the equivalent of having a good engine and a strong rudder when navigating tricky currents. That’s what gets us so fired up about having access to not only a window into the online world of physicians, but of hospitals as well … and these are only the first. Stay tuned for more Custom Search Engine work in the weeks and months ahead!

For those who’d like to know more about the concept of Upside-Down Analytics, I have posted a 10-minute presentation I gave at the 2013 Social Commerce Summit in March of 2013 … Let me know if you’re interested in the 2014 version, to be held in Austin just before South by Southwest’s Interactive (SxSWi) conference begins on March 6.

 

We need to come out of the reading room – both literally and figuratively – to engage more proactively and meaningfully with referring physicians and patients. The fact is that patients will receive better care – and outcomes – with a more engaged radiologist.

Roger Eng, MD – President-Elect of the California Radiological Society

OK – Raise your hand if you LOVE your radiologist. [If you are married to a radiologist, you’re disqualified – put your hand down.] I’m not seeing many hands. What’s that? You don’t know who your radiologist is? If you don’t, you’re not unique. Yet radiologists have become increasingly important in the healthcare delivery system. For those of you who aren’t “medically inclined,” Radiologists are medical doctors (MDs) or doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries using medical imaging techniques, such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET) and ultrasound (Definition courtesy of the American College of Radiology).

I’m guessing that a few bells are starting to ring now – we’re all familiar with X-rays, MRIs and CT scans at this point. But what most of us don’t realize is that radiologists are usually behind the scenes – completely invisible to the patient. Most of their work is done in a “reading room” that’s completely separated from the exam rooms frequented by patients. It’s quite common for the radiologist to make an analysis of the test results they’re shown, write a report for the referring physician, and send the report back – and that’s the sum total of the engagement in the process.

Yet now, more than ever, the expertise of the radiologist needs to be an integrated part of the continuum of care. Dr. Cynthia Sherry chairs the Radiology Department at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital in Dallas, and is also the Chief Medical Director for the Radiology Leadership Institute. The RLI, a program of the American College of Radiology, is designed to reshape the future of the practice of Radiology.

The old stereotype of the “disengaged radiologist” in the back room absolutely needs to change. Imaging has become such an important part of health care delivery today that virtually all patients have an imaging test of some kind. When the situation calls for it and the patient has an advanced test early in the process, they have measurably better outcomes … the radiologist needs to be more engaged, earlier in the process.

Cynthia Sherry, MD – Medical Director, the Radiology Leadership Institute

That sentiment correlates well with a survey that was announced this week by GE Healthcare* as a part of their MIND Initiative (Making an Impact on Neurological Disorders). That survey, which focused on diagnoses of Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease, was able to quantify significant advantages (financial and otherwise) to reducing delays in diagnosis.

The RLI has developed a comprehensive curriculum that is designed to equip radiologists for leadership in the evolving model for delivering healthcare in the US. Underlying all of that leadership development is that radiologists are being trained and equipped to have a voice – and that’s where social media begins to come into play.

For a function that’s traditionally perceived as being a part of the “back office,” a surprising number of radiologists have taken to social media as a mechanism to build those broader connections with referring physicians and patients. We’re tracking over 200 online radiologists through our MDigitalLIfe initiative (you can find a list of them, along with other important members of the radiology community, in this twitter list). One of the most active of them is Garry Choy, a staff radiologist at Mass General Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. He’s also the founder of a proprietary social network for radiologists called radRounds – that now has over 12,000 members from around the world.

But Garry is also a huge proponent of Twitter – and when I asked him why, his response was, “because it saves me so much time.” Yes, you read that right. Since most non-Twitter-users seem to think of it as a huge time-suck, I was a little surprised myself. So I asked him to elaborate.

“As a radiologist, it’s critically important for me to be connected to all of the latest advancements in process and technology as it relates to medicine. The people I follow on Twitter act as a human filter for the best information. It also allows me to access the top experts in the world, in real time, when I have a question.”

Garry Choy, MD – Mass General Hospital’s Division of Emergency Radiology and Teleradiology

I’m lucky enough to be spending the weekend with some incredibly inspiring radiologists this weekend at the annual meeting of the California Radiological Society – where I’ll be making a presentation with Dr. James Chen on Radiology and Social Media on Sunday the 22nd at 12:00 PDT. We’ll be sharing some data on how Radiologists are using social media for the very first time, which is always exciting. And I’ll also be doing 1×1 “Online Activation” coaching with a couple of dozen radiologists who are ready to take that next step into the future. You can follow all the action through the hashtag #CalRad13.

There’s much more to come as radiologists embrace the future of their field – and as online communication looms large in that process, we’ll all be able to follow along. Enjoy the ride!

*GE Healthcare is a client of WCG.

The simple truth is… I didn’t know what a “KOL” was until I joined WCG. I knew of the term ‘opinion leader’ from Lazarsfeld and Katz theory back from my communication studies, but KOLs? That sounded like a foreign animal.

Apparently, these are the people I worked with for the past six years while organizing committees, conferences and speaking engagements, and supporting scientific publications, people I shared laughs had fruitful discussions with at meetings, conferences and dinners. People I supported for the majority of my career as a Programme Officer at the European Molecular Biology Organisation.

Scientists, researchers, physicians, Post-Docs, PIs, Group Leaders or Institute Directors – they all are different and similar at the same time. Some of them are fantastic presenters, some make great writers or engaging communicators, some are remarkable scientific experts in variety of fields and some make great inspirational leaders.

What unites them is their dedication to the work they do, their passion to science in general and their never-ending curiosity.

They can be an endless source of information and inspiration and their opinions are valuable and integral part of science and healthcare communications. Their patients, peers and students, the general public and politicians all listen to what they have to say, but like most of us, each one of them has their own way and medium they use to communicate their ideas and thoughts.

And here is where things can get tricky since it is only human to categorise. We have this primordial need to look for similarities, unite things and treat them as one.

We group birch, cedar, ebony and cherry into the groupings ‘tree’ or ‘wood’, for example. However, if we are looking for something that would make a good table, we look for a specific type of wood with the qualities we need the table to have: hard-wearing, beautiful, cost-effective. For the same reason, you won’t engage with just any opinion leader to pursue all the activities you plan.

If you are shooting a webcast – you need an engaging speaker, if you need someone to consult on your R&D strategy – top science is key. Not all opinion leaders need to be on Twitter, have a blog, great publications and be good speakers. Allow them to use the skills they have and help them to gain new ones. Create the interaction that will be beneficial for both of you and you will acquire dedicated advocates that you seek.

I’m against using the term “KOL” – the more I use it the more I feel that I myself starting to forget the diversity of this community and the variety of activities and channels its members master. To flip a phrase, am I starting to miss seeing the trees for the wood?

Our aim as communicators is to engage with different stakeholders via appropriate medium and with help of the skilled advocates suited for that type of interaction. This is where Analytics and classic PR merge for that perfect tango: by correctly articulating the need for your market and precisely identifying the right advocates with right skill-set you can build the influential and inspirational leaders that our clients and patients need. And by doing so you are paving the road to a better patient education and better treatments.

In WCG we see this every day as we create proprietary tools to marry online and offline influence and by leveraging a heritage in medical education with the innovation of digital platforms and social media.

“It’s not about ‘best practices’ – it’s about ‘next practices’ as learned my new colleague Annalise Coady and I, when we excitedly touched down at the W2O Media and Engagement Summit in Austin.

We knew we worked with some forward-thinking people, but the depth and breadth of experience (along with general awesomeness) blew us away. Here’s a quick and dirty summary of some of the things we learned and plan to pioneer across the pond:

  • Media has evolved and PESO is the future: Day 1 kicked off with Head of Earned Media, Jim Larkin, demonstrating how media has evolved from the 1960’s, and how we as communicators have had to continuously adapt in order to connect with our audiences in new ways. Jim introduced the PESO (paid, earned, shared, owned) model – the integrated future of media engagement for W2O.
  • Relationship is king – know your influencers and tailor your pitch to suit: Ex-reporters Ryan Flinn and Brian Reid, along with Earned Media Director Peter Duckler and blogger aficionado Carla Clunis, shared their insights into ‘What Modern Media Want’. The clear message being we must become part of the community we want to influence and ensure we’re always approaching media with meaningful and relevant content.
  • Bring in the experts, right from the start: When you see an opportunity for our client to integrate, deploy our experts across digital, social, creative and media fields.
  • Jump in the pool: Your career at W2O doesn’t have to be linear. Do great client work and pollinate across the company, teaching account teams to do what you do.
  • W2O’s new search capabilities are awesome: Creating content that’s not findable in search is almost meaningless. W2O Search, championed by Greg Reilly and Sri Nagubandi, enables us to ensure we’re always producing content that meets the needs of our audiences – and most importantly, can be found!
  • Influence can be created – passion can’t: 92% of word of mouth still happens OFFLINE. We have the capabilities to execute outstanding WOM campaigns allowing us not only  to keep track of what people are saying about brands online and offline, but also enabling us to insert ourselves into the conversation through the engagement of ambassadors to spread goodwill.
  • Our clients are looking for first class ideas, strategy and execution: As part of a panel discussion, ex-clients Jim Larkin and Lionel Menchaca shared what they look for in an agency:
    • Passionate and committed to the cause as they are
    • Know the ball park they’re playing in
    • Competitive zeal
    • Always offer strategy and counsel where possible
    • Constantly align agency work with client business objectives
  • W2O knows more about what physicians are doing socially than anyone else in the world: Sounds like a heavy claim, but our MDigital Life database has made it so – just ask Greg Matthews!

As a company at the forefront of innovation, we must continue to push the boundaries of conventional approaches; experiment and practice truly integrated planning for our clients, or as they say in Texas; “Always drink upstream from the herd!”

About two weeks ago we launched The Social Oncology Project.  As that project (and subsequent report) came to life, our focus was on uncovering insights by analyzing the numbers.

While we found the data interesting, we wanted to go a step further and include expert opinions because we think the stories of how social media gets used are a critical component to understanding where these tools are headed.  With that in mind, we headed to Chicago to speak with physicians, advocates and industry representatives about their use of social media.  Here’s a look at some of the things we learned:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjIknF_2zAw[/youtube]

  1. While some are more timid than others when it comes to social media, physicians are not afraid to get online.  Many recognize that it is a powerful tool for monitoring/tracking conversations and, in fact, a certain percentage is actively engaged in their field of expertise AND outside their field of expertise.
  2. One of the biggest barriers to physician use of social media appears to be time constraints/ competing priorities in their daily routine.
  3. If you’re interested in ASCO, there are definitely some ‘must follow’ people on twitter – and @MaverickNY and @adamfeuerstein  came up more than a few times.
  4. Social media is playing a significant – and still growing – role in patient education.  We heard about patient resources, educational videos, and group forums being shared online by The PAN Foundation,  Johns Hopkins , and Malecare, respectively.
  5. When it comes to social media, the pharmaceutical industry has made great strides over the last several years.  However, the lack of industry guidelines cannot continue to be an excuse from engaging with patients through channels they are active on.
  6. In the future, the use of social media within healthcare will become the norm. As platforms such as twitter become second nature, they won’t be considered time consuming and some believe social media will make its way into medical school curriculum.

For more information about ASCO 2013, check out these posts by colleague Brian Reid and friend Geoff Curtis.

You can view the full Social Oncology report, interviews and media coverage here: www.wcgworld.com/mdigitallife

One of the key findings of the Social Oncology Report was that cancer conversations have become increasingly fragmented, specific and sophisticated. The number of journal articles posted to PubMed has increased 349% since 1999 – and the number of cancer-related conversations has exploded in similar fashion. As those cancer-specific conversations continue to grow, we wanted to take a closer look at the physicians who are driving them. This is the third in a series of posts on the subject, which hone in on conversations about breast cancer, gynecological cancers, prostate cancer, skin cancer, and lung cancer. You can see the first four, Doctors and Social Oncology: Trends in Physician ConversationsDoctors and Social Oncology: The MDs most active in leading online cancer conversationsDoctors and Social Oncology: The MDs most mentioned by their peers (skin cancer edition), and The MDs most mentioned by their peers (lung cancer edition) through the links above.

In our last post, we talked about the importance of physicians who are the most active in driving conversations about a topic area, because it isn’t just about health – or even cancer – anymore. Our healthcare conversations have become increasingly specialized and complex. Today, we’re going to go a level deeper and begin looking at which doctors are talked ABOUT the most – by their fellow MDs – in the context of a lung cancer. I’ve already sensed a little skepticism from some folks about the validity of this measurement – so let me tell you why I think it’s important.

Most of us are familiar with influence-rating tools like Klout or Kred. I think that, at some level, those tools have validity – but I don’t think that they are particularly sophisticated.  What’s much more interesting to me than knowing someone’s general, overall influence … is knowing how their peers see their influence on specific topics. And that’s what we’ll be looking at for the next few days. There’s still a level deeper to go, so stay with me – but for now, let me introduce the physicians who have been most-mentioned by other doctors on the subject of prostate cancer.

As you hover over the “Image Capsule” below, you can connect with links associated with each doctor & connect with them. Most importantly, the “Share” icon in the upper left can be used to share this capsule with any of your social networks or to embed it in your blog or web site.

For more information on the MDigitalLife Social Oncology project, please visit w.cg/tsop13. There, you’ll find the report itself, links to a series of expository blog posts, interviews with cancer experts from the #ASCO13 Annual Meeting, a full series of infographics like the one above, and media articles covering the study.

HUGE thanks to my W2O Group colleagues Rami Lazarus, Franco GalimbertiKayla RodriguezAlim LeungScott Kramer and Matt Snodgrass for contributing to these amazing image capsules.

One of the key findings of the Social Oncology Report was that cancer conversations have become increasingly fragmented, specific and sophisticated. The number of journal articles posted to PubMed has increased 349% since 1999 – and the number of cancer-related conversations has exploded in similar fashion. As those cancer-specific conversations continue to grow, we wanted to take a closer look at the physicians who are driving them. This is the third in a series of posts on the subject, which hone in on conversations about breast cancer, gynecological cancers, prostate cancer, skin cancer, and lung cancer. You can see the first two, Doctors and Social Oncology: Trends in Physician ConversationsDoctors and Social Oncology: The MDs most active in leading online cancer conversations, and Doctors and Social Oncology: The MDs most mentioned by their peers (skin cancer edition) through the links above.

In our last post, we talked about the importance of physicians who are the most active in driving conversations about a topic area, because it isn’t just about health – or even cancer – anymore. Our healthcare conversations have become increasingly specialized and complex. Today, we’re going to go a level deeper and begin looking at which doctors are talked ABOUT the most – by their fellow MDs – in the context of a lung cancer. I’ve already sensed a little skepticism from some folks about the validity of this measurement – so let me tell you why I think it’s important.

Most of us are familiar with influence-rating tools like Klout or Kred. I think that, at some level, those tools have validity – but I don’t think that they are particularly sophisticated.  What’s much more interesting to me than knowing someone’s general, overall influence … is knowing how their peers see their influence on specific topics. And that’s what we’ll be looking at for the next few days. There’s still a level deeper to go, so stay with me – but for now, let me introduce the physicians who have been most-mentioned by other doctors on the subject of lung cancer.

As you hover over the “Image Capsule” below, you can connect with links associated with each doctor & connect with them. Most importantly, the “Share” icon in the upper left can be used to share this capsule with any of your social networks or to embed it in your blog or web site.

One of the key findings of the Social Oncology Report was that cancer conversations have become increasingly fragmented, specific and sophisticated. The number of journal articles posted to PubMed has increased 349% since 1999 – and the number of cancer-related conversations has exploded in similar fashion. As those cancer-specific conversations continue to grow, we wanted to take a closer look at the physicians who are driving them. This is the third in a series of posts on the subject, which hone in on conversations about breast cancer, gynecological cancers, prostate cancer, skin cancer, and lung cancer. You can see the first two, Doctors and Social Oncology: Trends in Physician Conversations, and Doctors and Social Oncology: The MDs most active in leading online cancer conversations, through the links above.

In our last post, we talked about the importance of physicians who are the most active in driving conversations about a topic area. Today, we’re going to go a level deeper and begin looking at which doctors are talked ABOUT the most – by their fellow MDs – in the context of a certain topic area. I’ve already sensed a little skepticism from some folks about the validity of this measurement – so let me tell you why I think it’s important.

Most of us are familiar with influence-rating tools like Klout or Kred. I think that, at some level, those tools have validity – but I don’t think that they are particularly sophisticated.  What’s much more interesting to me than knowing someone’s general, overall influence … is knowing how their peers see their influence on specific topics. And that’s what we’ll be looking at for the next few days. There’s still a level deeper to go, so stay with me – but for now, let me introduce the physicians who have been most-mentioned by other doctors on the subject of skin cancer.

As you hover over the “Image Capsule” below, you can connect with links associated with each doctor & connect with them. Most importantly, the “Share” icon in the upper left can be used to share this capsule with any of your social networks or to embed it in your blog or web site.

For more information on the MDigitalLife Social Oncology project, please visit w.cg/tsop13. There, you’ll find the report itself, links to a series of expository blog posts, interviews with cancer experts from the #ASCO13 Annual Meeting, a full series of infographics like the one above, and media articles covering the study.

HUGE thanks to my W2O Group colleagues Rami Lazarus, Franco Galimberti, Kayla Rodriguez, Alim Leung, Scott Kramer and Matt Snodgrass for contributing to these amazing image capsules.