I 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.
That 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 …
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.