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healthcare technology
The ways in which technology benefits healthcare
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Doctors' love-hate relationship with EHRs

Doctors' love-hate relationship with EHRs | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
As with anything new, most physicians go into implementation of an electronic health record system with certain expectations. Sometimes those expectations are exceeded, sometimes they are not met — for better or worse.

 

Many likes and dislikes about EHRs are consistent in the physician community. Implementation will, no doubt, change a practice. But knowing what to expect will help determine how physicians handle the changes.

 

There are some changes with EHR implementation that physicians dislike but learn to live with. There are others that force the physicians to switch vendors altogether. Knowing the pain points, as well as the things physicians really like about EHRs, doctors still in the market may have a better idea of what to look for — or at least a better idea of what to expect.

 

“The computer is always a good and a bad story if you ask me,” said Dean F. Sittig, PhD, professor of biomedic informatics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Biomedical Informatics. “It’s a hugely important new tool for your clinic, and you have got to learn to use it. It’s not a simple thing. It’s not like a new kind of stethoscope. It’s a whole new way of doing something.”

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Use of Social Media by Western European Hospitals: Longitudinal Study

Use of Social Media by Western European Hospitals: Longitudinal Study | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
Background: Patients increasingly use social media to communicate. Their stories could support quality improvements in participatory health care and could support patient-centered care. Active use of social media by health care institutions could also speed up communication and information provision to patients and their families, thus increasing quality even more. Hospitals seem to be becoming aware of the benefits social media could offer. Data from the United States show that hospitals increasingly use social media, but it is unknown whether and how Western European hospitals use social media.


Objective: To identify to what extent Western European hospitals use social media.
Methods: In this longitudinal study, we explored the use of social media by hospitals in 12 Western European countries through an Internet search. We collected data for each country during the following three time periods: April to August 2009, August to December 2010, and April to July 2011.


Results: We included 873 hospitals from 12 Western European countries, of which 732 were general hospitals and 141 were university hospitals. The number of included hospitals per country ranged from 6 in Luxembourg to 347 in Germany. We found hospitals using social media in all countries. The use of social media increased significantly over time, especially for YouTube (n = 19, 2% to n = 172, 19.7%), LinkedIn (n =179, 20.5% to n = 278, 31.8%), and Facebook (n = 85, 10% to n = 585, 67.0%). Differences in social media usage between the included countries were significant.


Conclusions: Social media awareness in Western European hospitals is growing, as well as its use. Social media usage differs significantly between countries. Except for the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, the group of hospitals that is using social media remains small. Usage of LinkedIn for recruitment shows the awareness of the potential of social media. Future research is needed to investigate how social media lead to improved health care.

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Telemedicine forecast: Mobile and clouds with a strong chance of video

Telemedicine forecast: Mobile and clouds with a strong chance of video | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Telemedicine applications for healthcare providers can be seen in how some corporations provide care for their workers. Consider how Cisco Systems [2] (NASDAQ:CSCO [3]) offers employees healthcare on its campuses on opposite ends of the country.

 

Cisco, which is self insured, funds all of the company’s healthcare resources including a clinic and pharmacy at its Silicon Valley headquarters. Patients with skin conditions, for example, can take advantage of teledermatology options that give Cisco employees access to skin specialists without needing to leave campus, said Ash Shehata [4], Cisco’s senior executive director of healthcare business transformation for the Americas. These health IT capabilities mean diagnosis is done through video and the specialist’s opinion is sent to the patient’s primary care provider.

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Better Information Means Safer Health Care

Health information technology (health IT) can play an important role in increasing patient safety by virtue of the information contained in the electronic health record (EHR) and the features (error-checking, notifications, etc) systems use to ensure high quality care. As just one example, a Congressional Budget Office study estimated that EHRs could reduce prescribing errors by up to 95 percent.

 

Specifically, EHRs can enhance patient safety and provide safer health care through:

 

Comprehensiveness: EHRs can offer a more complete picture of your health to your doctors than paper records. This information can give doctors the information they need to evaluate your current condition in the context of your health history and other treatments you may be receiving.


Speed: In a crisis, EHRs can give those providing your care instant access to information about your medical history, allergies, and prescriptions they can use to make appropriate decisions sooner, instead of waiting for information from test results.


Flagging potential conflicts: Many EHRs incorporate warning systems to inform doctors when they order a medication that could interact with something you already take. This information can prompt doctors to explore alternatives before a problem occurs.


Verifying medications and dosages: Many e-prescribing systems incorporate a verification system that checks the barcode on a medication against the drug name and dosage information on the original prescription, helping pharmacists avoid dispensing the wrong medication.


Reducing the need to repeat risky tests and procedures: Even the safest medical tests and procedures carry risk. Having a comprehensive EHR can reduce the risk of repeating them unnecessarily, leading to safer health care.

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How an EMR makes connecting with the patient more difficult

I have the great privilege of being a medical educator. Everyday, I have an incredible time working with internal medicine residents at their continuity clinic, teaching the art of ambulatory medicine. Our working environment here is academically rich and fulfilling.

 

The name of the legendary Dr. Martin Leibowitz (an iconic figure in ambulatory medicine here) stands outside our conference room as a constant reminder of how medicine is practiced and taught. There is a large oval table at the center of the conference room, constantly surrounded by venerable attendings, interspersed with curious residents, discussing all the difficult cases of the day. There is the constant buzz of organized chaos like a stock exchange that is addictive and keeps things fun and enjoyable.

 

Although this positive vibe has never changed, the working environment has transformed since I first joined in 2009. The conference table used to be littered with text books like Harrison’s, Netter and a variety of dermatology books. In between the people and books sat heavy, tattered orange colored paper charts.

 

Some were just a few pages, some hundreds, all documenting a litany of complaints, physical exam findings, test results, insurance documentation, medication lists and well thought out plans by generations past of neophyte doctors. Blue, black, red, green ink on yellow oxidized pages, all fascinating yet often illegible.

 

My intrigue with these historical documents quickly faded, and the burden of having to flip through hundreds of abstruse pages became quite frustrating. The sight of these bright orange charts piled on my desk at the end of the day, became a nauseating reminder of the inefficiencies and dangers of paper documentation. Our electronic medical record (EMR), slated to be release 6 months after my start date, could not come soon enough.

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Can Digital Health Technologies Improve Health Literacy?

Can Digital Health Technologies Improve Health Literacy? | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

A recent article in the AMA News cites a 2003 health literacy study by the US Department of Education which surveyed more than 19,000 Americans. It found that over one-third had trouble reading and understanding basic medical information.

 

Not surprisingly, people with low health literacy have worse medical outcomes, make more medication errors, have lower adherence to regimens, and are 50% more likely to be hospitalized (National Patient Safety Council).

 

The worst part is that 75% of health illiterate patients will not tell their physicians about it. The biggest issues I see with health literacy are that patients are intimidated to discuss their low health literacy with the provider and to challenge care recommendations (which is not usually in a shared decision context), physicians do not speak in lay terms, and do not have enough time for ample, free-flowing discussions.

 

In addition, low health literacy is not appreciated by providers and therefore the problem is a self-fulfilling one.

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Inspire to Engage: Innovative Ideas for Global Patient Recruitment

Inspire to Engage: Innovative Ideas for Global Patient Recruitment | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
If you live in a world where clinical research and marketing communications collide, you hear the word “engagement” thrown around a lot. Often followed by a grimace (especially when it comes to social media). As an industry, we need to move beyond the notion that engaging with patients is just trouble waiting to happen. Start to think of engagement in its purest form: the art of capturing and occupying someone’s attention.

 

Check out some “inspiration” sites that keep me engaged for hours. Look beyond just the content (which hopefully you’ll find interesting) and begin to ask yourself “Why do these sites work?” Sometimes, simpler is better!

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The Problem With Social Media and Healthcare Marketing

Yes, you can market, communicate, and build community with patients and their loved ones using social media.

 

The problem, however, is that the center and circumference of online media are predicated on peer-to-peer connectivity.

 

If Healthcare marketers and communicators break that geometry then brands tarnish, returns vanish, and frustration levels creep.

 

I”ve talked with all sorts of organizations – I’ve even been asked to interview for Healthcare digital media positions in last couple of years (companies are starting to create these sorts of positions).

 

These are good organizations with smart and kind people running them.

 

A common temptation I sense in many of Healthcare organizations, however, is to go the “safe” route – the well-known, tried-and-true practices of 20th Century Marketing.

 

But playing “safe” that way is actually playing with fire.

 

The concentric and overlapping circles of peer-to-peer connectivity are like rings of fire.

 

If you want to “play it safe” in Healthcare marketing, public relations, and general communications, you will eventually get burned when you jump into to the rings of fire without fully mastering – and realizing – the prowess of the supple musculature and passion demanded of 21st Century pressures.

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Six Steps to Boost Productivity by 30 Percent at Your Medical Practice

What if your current staff could actually get all of their work done, you could see 30 percent more patients, or you could get home in time for dinner? How happy would patients be if wait time decreased?

 

The rule of thumb is that 30 percent of the activity in any type of office is wasted. My experience is that the percentage is even higher in a medical office. The more useless labor you can eliminate, the bigger the increase in productivity and the fewer mistakes. A careful review of some or all of the processes in a medical office can generally be expected to yield productivity gains of at least 30 percent in the areas addressed.

 

All work, productive and non-productive, is part of a process. Identifying and eliminating the wasted work in a particular process is a project with specific steps. Staff, even those not directly involved in the process, must be included in the project. Their knowledge of what is really happening is invaluable, and their buy-in promotes sustained change.

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E-Prescriptions Reduce Errors, but Their Adoption Is Slow

E-Prescriptions Reduce Errors, but Their Adoption Is Slow | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Studies show that errors are much less likely when doctors send prescriptions to the pharmacy via computer. But the move to such e-prescriptions has been relatively slow.

 

AS e-mail and texting have become our favored means of written communication, handwriting has almost disappeared. Penmanship is becoming a modern form of hieroglyphics, intelligible only to literary scholars.

 

But one place where handwriting persists is on medical prescriptions, and that’s unfortunate. Sloppy writing or inappropriate directions can lead to what doctors delicately refer to as preventable A.D.E.’s, or adverse drug events. These can encompass minor but still avoidable problems, like rashes or diarrhea, and much more serious events like, well, death.

 

Studies show that errors are much less likely if a doctor clicks to select medications from an onscreen list and sends the prescription data via computer to the pharmacy. Rainu Kaushal, a professor of medical informatics at Weill Cornell Medical College, led a study published in 2010 in which she and four colleagues followed prescriptions issued by a sample of providers in outpatient settings in New York. (Providers included physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.) Some were prescribing electronically for the first time, and some continued to use paper.

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Continuity of Information: Will EMRs Remedy Discontinuity of Care?

Continuity of Information: Will EMRs Remedy Discontinuity of Care? | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Back when health information technology amounted to a clipboard, paper and a pen, “continuity of care” was one of the bedrock principles of medicine. It meant that whenever possible, primary-care physicians should oversee their patients’ care, serving as healers and advisors through every phase of the medical experience.

 

Those days are all but gone, replaced by 15-minute office visits and episodic medical encounters, as patient migrate from one doctor to the next, depending on who’s covered in their insurance plan.

 

One proposed remedy for such a deeply fragmented health system is a national system of electronic medical records. The Obama administration is pushing the new technology by providing up to $27 billion in incentives over 10 years to doctors and hospitals that adopt it. Michael Painter of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a major public health philanthropy that is backing the initiative, says electronic medical records are designed to improve the quality and efficiency of medical care by “attach[ing] information to you that follows you wherever you go.”

 

What isn’t clear is whether “continuity of information” will make up for the loss of “continuity of care.” Or whether it will live up to its billing, assuring that no matter what doctor you see--or which hospital you land in--you’ll get quality treatment tailored to meet your needs.

 

Anthony DeMaria, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, says electronic medical records can help assure quality and safety in many important ways, from providing limitless data for medical research to connecting the dots in perplexing patient encounters. “I’ve struggled at times when I’ve had to see a patient admitted to the hospital or clinic and have no medical record—I can’t tell what’s going on,” DeMaria says.” The electronic records are also invaluable, he says, for providing critical reminders about drugs or procedures that might be overlooked.

 

The technology can empower patients, too, by giving them access to their own health histories--information patients are eager to have. The Department of Veterans Affairs, an early adopter of electronic medical records, installed a portal on its website called the Blue Button, where veterans can retrieve their medical records. Since the Blue Button was established two years ago, as many as half a million veterans have used it to download their VA clinical records and claims information.

 

But transitioning from paper to the computer is costly and logistically challenging. Many of the systems now in place may digitize medical records but they don’t provide information to patients or link up with other data networks.

 

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation analysis released last week found that 18 percent of hospitals reported meeting the minimal federal standard for electronic health records last year, up from 4.4 percent in 2010. Only 10 percent of doctors have adopted electronic health records systems that meet the minimum standards defined by the government.

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Social media “likes” healthcare: From marketing to social business

Social media “likes” healthcare: From marketing to social business | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
With one half of health industry executives saying they are concerned about how to integrate social media data into their business strategy there is a recognition social media presents a significant industry challenge.

 

Social media is changing the nature and speed of health care interaction between consumers and health organizations. This in-depth HRI report dives into what some of the largest health care companies are doing in and with social media. The report's findings are based on a survey of more than 1,000 consumers and 124 health care executives. Click below to see a snapshot of social media activity on community sites and health company sites.

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5 ways to avoid harming patients with health IT

5 ways to avoid harming patients with health IT | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Healthcare IT is a critical component of improving what ails today’s American healthcare system – but it isn’t an instant cure. “We can’t assume IT will fix a bad clinical workflow or process,” Whittington says. “Unless you fix that first, you won’t win.”

 

A classic example is when doctors order tests for patients in a hospital, Whittington explains. Often, the test results don’t come back until the patient has already gone home. In the paper world, it was often cumbersome to get these results to the physician. “When hospitals say that putting in a new health IT system will fix that, that can be really dangerous. If the test result just goes onto a list in somebody’s email inbox, then the process is still broken.”

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The Electronic Medical Record Doesn’t Tell You the Story

The Electronic Medical Record Doesn’t Tell You the Story | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
Things are different now that we have the EMR, the electronic medical record. After two months of use, we’ve learned to our sorrow that these records don’t tell us stories that make cognitive sense. They offer information in endless lists.

 

Before the written word, people told stories. In every culture, around hearths and on journeys, they remembered and retold tales of great deeds, romance, and tragedy.

 

When we were medical students, we learned to present each case on rounds by telling the patient’s story. The story had well-defined elements: the current complaint, the background of genetics or misfortune that led up to the present, the investigation that might clinch the diagnosis, and the plan of action.

 

The best stories almost told themselves. The business executive fresh from a transatlantic flight presented with shortness of breath; VQ scan revealed a pulmonary embolism. The young woman with Marfan’s syndrome began exercising one morning and developed severe chest pain radiating to her back; the echo demonstrated aortic dissection.

 

Now, however, we have lists.

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5 reasons why mHealth isn’t “telemedicine without wires”

“mHealth’s potential continues to grow, but roadblocks exist” is a Destination ATA editorial by Jeff Rowe that highlights a common misunderstanding of mHealth that I’m noticing amongst professionals with eHealth and Telemedicine expertise:

 

“But despite the seemingly daily introduction of new gadgets – and new uses for those gadgets – those who have been involved in telemedicine in recent years can be forgiven for viewing mHealth as essentially telemedicine without wires“

 

Here’s 5 reasons why I think mHealth isn’t just Telemedicine without wires:

 

> In the vast majority of instances Telemedicine was never personal

 

Typically it didn’t belong to the patient (eg. they were loaned it) or the Healthcare Professionals (eg. it was owned by their employer). In 2012 watch a Doctor or nurse at work and they’re looking or picking up their mobile every few minutes. Patients are more likely to leave their home without their keys or wallets than their mobile.

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Imagine a World Where mHealth, Telemedicine and EMRs Integrated Seamlessly

Imagine a World Where mHealth, Telemedicine and EMRs Integrated Seamlessly | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

While there were many exciting announcements regarding mobile apps for remote monitoring services, medication adherence tracking, specialist consultations and real-time video visits between physicians and patients, the question still remains….can this important information be seamlessly integrated with EMR data for a comprehensive picture of the person being treated?

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Patient care and costs improved with HIT

Patient care and costs improved with HIT | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

CDW Healthcare’s “Healthcare IT Tipping Point Report Survey,” conducted from Jan. 9 to Jan. 23, is based on responses from 202 doctors and nurses and 200 healthcare IT professionals from hospitals with more than 200 beds.

 

The survey found that respondents believe healthcare IT solutions are getting better.

 

Caregivers rate systems installed during the last 18 months as more useful in patient care (43 percent) and more able to deliver the information that they need (34 percent).

 

Doctors and nurses cite the availability of better information (85 percent), the accuracy of care delivered to patients (72 percent) and the ability to track follow-up care (68 percent) as the top benefits. Nearly 40 percent of respondents also see healthcare IT as enabling them to spend more time with patients.

 

In addition to improved patient care, HIT can also reduce costs, according to CDW.

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Has direct to consumer advertising improved patient care?

Has direct to consumer advertising improved patient care? | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
Without a doctor’s recommendation, how could people know if the medication was appropriate or safe?

 

Can anyone remember life before Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) advertising with its notorious “Ask Your Doctor” ads? The only thing laypeople knew about prescription drugs came from the ads they peeked at in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in the doctor’s waiting room.

 

The ads were full of vaguely ominous terms—nulligravida? hemodialysis?—as well as side effects and overdose treatments that no one understood or wanted to understand. But one night in 1997, as Americans watched an episode of Touched by an Angel on television, they were touched by something else unexpected: an ad for a prescription allergy pill called Claritin®, promoted directly to the consumer!

Prescription drugs had never been sold directly to the public before, because, without a doctor’s recommendation, how could people know if the medication was appropriate or safe?

 

Soon after Claritin, ads for Xenical®, Meridia®, Propecia®, Paxil®, Prozac®, Vioxx®, Viagra®, Singulair®, Nasonex®, Allegra®, Flonase®, Pravachol®, Zyrtec®, Zocor®, Flovent®, and Lipitor® appeared. And, thanks to the World Wide Web, which appeared at the same time as DTC advertising, the world of diseases and prescription drugs was soon open to anyone who could operate a mouse.

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EMRs: Worth the Pain?

EMRs: Worth the Pain? | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Maryland providers are faced with the difficult task of selecting and implementing electronic medical records (EMRs) to improve and engage patients in their overall care. A large percentage of providers continue to operate with paper charts, which are neither efficient nor safe.

 

With the various government incentives available to encourage adoption of electronic records, medical professionals understand the advantages and care improvements that EMRs supply, although most are unequipped to adjust to the inevitable hurdle of a significant practice workflow transformation. Implementation of an EMR can be a challenge at first; however it is well worth the investment in the end.

 

A practice’s return on investment (ROI) depends upon choosing a solution that is a fit for the practice. To ease the difficult selection process, Maryland’s Health Information Exchange (HIE) provides support and recommendations for a select number of EMR vendors.

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Telemedicine and malpractice, what you need to know

Recently, an Atlanta attorney began advertising his services as plaintiffs’ counsel in claims arising from telemedicine services.

 

At his website, he pointed to the dramatic growth in the number of telemedicine sessions in Georgia. He claimed that some patients might be “victim[s] of … telemedicine mistake[s],” and that such patients should “understand [their] rights.”

 

The author suggested that “patients may be less secure in their diagnoses or follow-up treatment. They may be concerned that a doctor will make a mistake that could have been avoided if the doctor and patient had met in person.”

 

The author even offers a free book entitled “Why Did This Critical Medical Error Happen to Me?” The site makes no effort to demonstrate that any practitioner offering services at a distance actually breached the standard of care, or even made a “telemedicine mistake,” that any patient failed to “understand his rights,” or came to harm as a result, that any such harm “could have been avoided if the doctor and patient had met in person” or that any court has actually entered judgment against a telemedicine clinician.

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Should Every Health IT System Support Interoperability?

Hospital EMR and EHR, Should Every Health IT System Support Interoperability?

 

It’s unfortunate in today’s environment that we still have a “versus” in the equation. There are some systems that fall under “best of breed” and/or “integrated” and do a pretty good job at supporting interoperability. But, there remains some that rely on proprietary data models and archaic interfaces as part of their revenue stream. Hopefully as more and more emphasis is associated with clinic value derived from data exchange/sharing the “dinosaurs” will be eventually phased out

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Using Social Media to Market and Brand Your Medical Practice

Using Social Media to Market and Brand Your Medical Practice | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

As the Internet has become the medium of choice for researching health information, social media has become an important part of how your medical practice gets found online. In today’s social media-connected, content marketing rich environment, doctors who are not using social media as part of their marketing strategy are missing out. This article will give you an overview of why and how you should brand and market your practice online, along with examples of those physicians who are leading the way with social media marketing.

 

But first, what exactly does “branding” mean?

 

Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers. (Business Dictionary.com)

 

There are many elements which make your brand more readily identifiable, ranging from tangibles like your logo, tagline and promotional materials to the more intangible - how telephone calls are answered in your practice and how you are perceived by your patients. Doctors position themselves in the healthcare market by speciality, but also by the quality of their work, their reputation, and as an acknowledged expert on specific medical conditions.

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Advocates Criticize AHA's Stance on Patient Access to Health Data

Advocates Criticize AHA's Stance on Patient Access to Health Data | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
Patient advocates have criticized the American Hospital Association for recommending that CMS loosen its proposed patient access requirements for Stage 2 of the meaningful use program, Health Data Management reports (Goedert, Health Data Management, 5/2).


Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

 

 

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5 tips for running a successful social media plan on a non-profit budget

5 tips for running a successful social media plan on a non-profit budget | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Learn how to create a plan and build upon connections in your social media efforts.

 

1. Go in with a plan: One of the biggest mistakes non-profits make with social media is assuming that it's free, so they should just jump right in. Conducting some online listening in your space can help you identify influencers online, where they are located and what they are saying to allow for better connections.

 

2. Work with what you've got: Is your communications team already managing some online assets? Can you direct traffic to them if you start up new social media channels? What are you doing on the traditional side that could be used online? Remember that social media is about starting a dialogue and you have been talking with your constituents for years already, so use that to your advantage.

 

3. Make a schedule: One of the worst things you can do is overload your social media outreach the first month you are engaged only to do nothing the next two months. It is important to engage with your base on an ongoing basis, rather than push out a large amount of content periodically. Making sure you have a planned engagement calendar mapped out for a year can save you heartache and money down the line.

 

4. Forge connections: You are not out there alone. There is likely a world of people who are already engaged with the cause and share your concerns. Connect with them and leverage the assets they have to help promote it.

 

5. Track your progress: Oftentimes, social media programs are deemed a waste of money and dropped because of the failure to track assets, share of voice, engagement, registration numbers and other data before a campaign versus after a campaign. Forgetting to keep a record of this data can make even the greatest social media program look lackluster. Evaluating your program is, of course, part of Public Relations 101, and social media is no different.

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6 must-haves for effective customer support in health IT

There's no denying that customer service is a key driver of success in any business. And when it comes to health IT, strong customer support is that much more important to successfully implement tools aimed at improving patient care and reducing costs.

 

Sonal Patel, vice president of client services at Corepoint Health and Cathy Wickern, system analyst at Washington-based Highline Medical Center, outline six must-haves for effective customer support in health IT.

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