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Sharing medical stories: The blossoming of hospital social media

Sharing medical stories: The blossoming of hospital social media | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
When Atlanta-area couple Emory and Courtney Lott adopted their daughter Emmy, she was just 3 weeks old, but they were already anticipating frequent visits to the doctor’s office.Emmy was born with sickle cell disease. Now 4 years old, she suffers from debilitating symptoms such as limb pain, high fevers and spleen problems. She has been admitted to the hospital more than 50 times.Sickle cell deforms red blood cells and causes them to clog small blood vessels. This creates a process of inflammation and oxygen starvation, resulting in intense pain. The disease evolved as a mutation to protect people against malaria, and sub-Saharan Africa is one of the major areas where that took place. That is why the sickle cell trait, which occurs in various ethnic groups, is especially common among African-Americans.Last March, Emmy developed a severe case of acute chest syndrome, a potentially fatal lung-related complication that occurs in some sickle cell patients. Emmy’s treatment and recovery required an extended stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital. It was during this particular admission that her mother decided to share Emmy’s story via social media.“She was very, very sick, so our doctor suggested that I make a Facebook page as a way to take my mind off of how sick my child was,” Courtney Lott said. “The page was a way to update people, have people praying, and let them know what was going on.”Lott created a Facebook page, “Pray for Emmy,” which has grown into a group with more than 3,800 followers. Lott posts on the page fairly often, as followers inquire about Emmy’s condition and express interest in how she is doing overall.“Emmy is like a little celebrity,” Lott said. “I’d say that 99.9 percent of the time, we have had an overwhelmingly positive response on social media.”Just a decade ago, social media groups like Emmy’s did not even exist. In fact, most social media platforms were just starting out and were rarely, if ever, exclusively used for health care communications.Now, hospitals all over the state and the nation are using social media.According to the Georgia Hospital Association, 77 member hospitals currently have Facebook pages and 41 have Twitter accounts.“In many hospitals throughout Georgia, social media has become an integral part of the way that these organizations communicate with patients, families and employees,” said Erin Stewart, the GHA’s director of communications and social media. Use of social media “has helped strengthen hospital-patient relationships and has allowed hospitals to be part of the conversation that members of their community were already having about them.”Tracy Dean, manager of social media content at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, has watched the rise of social media and the key role it plays in CHOA’s engagement with the patient community.“From the grocery store to baseball fields, the care we provide is a topic of conversations between moms and dads, grandparents and neighbors,” she said. “Today many of the conversations have moved online with social media. These open platforms amplify messages and allows for us to publicly engage with these individuals and groups of people.” Knowing the risksOf course, people’s social media posts can potentially reveal a lot of personal information, sometimes including sensitive medical data. And so, as more health care facilities turn to social media, questions have emerged about privacy. The Emergency Care Research Institute released new guidance on social media practices in early 2012.In a January 2012 press release, Paul Anderson of ECRI addressed the importance of establishing social media policies and procedures to counteract privacy concerns and other potential risks.
“I won’t tell you that you have to join Facebook or set up a Twitter account, but your patients and staff are using these tools,” Anderson said. “Yes, there are privacy and reputational risks, but social media can present tremendous opportunities for hospitals to communicate with their communities, patients and staff.”At CHOA, Dean said, her team first addressed HIPAA privacy concerns when it sought to align hospital-wide social media with employee policies on e-communications. This led to the establishment of CHOA’s social media policy.“According to our social media policy, by posting any content to our social media sites, the user grants Children’s the right to reproduce, distribute, publish or display content on our channels,” Dean said. “In addition, CHOA’s Marketing and Communications obtains digital consent forms for all patients we photograph and film — this safeguards us to have this content appear on our social channels.”When Courtney Lott posts photos and status updates to social media with the #CHOA hashtag, the hospital’s social media policy is in the forefront of her mind.“I always try to be very cautious about what I am posting and make sure it doesn’t go against any of their policies,” she said. “I am also friends with a lot of the nurses, so I check with them before posting. They are supportive of that.”The sharing that’s possible through social media has helped to form patient relationships and online communities for families like the Lotts. CHOA’s official social media have shared Lott’s Facebook posts about Emmy in an effort to support her and raise awareness of sickle cell disease. A special digital relationship has developed between the hospital and the families it serves.“We saw this as an opportunity to provide engaging content through our digital channels that would help people open up and connect about their experience,” Dean said.For Lott, social media engagement has led to friendships with fellow families of sickle cell patients at CHOA, and support from friends and complete strangers.“Using social media as a white mom with a black child, it can be very hard for me to connect with others,” she said. “So I’ve used social media to find a community and to have people who know what I am going through.”Today, Emmy continues to have occasional high fevers and blood transfusions. Her severe symptoms sometimes result in precautionary emergency room visits. When that happens, Lott spreads the word through social media.“We are at CHOA much as we are at home.” Lott said. “They are truly our second family and I am thankful for that. We just sing their praises.” Natalie Duggan, a GHN intern, is a senior at Emory University, majoring in journalism and anthropology, specializing in health writing. She has previously interned at the CDC, the CNN Medical Unit, and was a summer 2013 ORISE research fellow at the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases.Enjoy Georgia Health News? Sign up for free Email Alerts or follow us on Facebook or Twitter
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10 Tips to Improve Your Pinterest Marketing Strategy

10 Tips to Improve Your Pinterest Marketing Strategy | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
Pinning as much as you can is not a strategy, here are some ideas to help you better present your products, learn more your pinners, adjust your frequency and more
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Five Creative Ways Small Businesses Can Kill it on Twitter

Five Creative Ways Small Businesses Can Kill it on Twitter | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
Want to increase your Twitter followers, improve your click through rates and drive traffic to your site? Here are 5 strategies you may not have thought of.
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Marco Favero's curator insight, November 13, 4:37 PM

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15 Tools To Monitor Your Social Media Presence More Effectively

15 Tools To Monitor Your Social Media Presence More Effectively | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
Want to monitor your social media presence? Not sure which tool to use? Save time and drive results using the tools in this list.
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Marco Favero's curator insight, November 12, 10:33 AM

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7 mistakes you shouldn't make on your LinkedIn profile

7 mistakes you shouldn't make on your LinkedIn profile | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
There are several reasons your profile is a mess: Lack of involvement in groups, a paucity of recommendations, and plain, old neglect to name a few. Oh, and ditch that photo of you at the monster truck rally.
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How to Optimize Social Media to Kick Start Your Career

How to Optimize Social Media to Kick Start Your Career | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
The very social media skills possessed by today’s university student, regardless if they are 18 or 35, might lead to that first good job even in tough times if they take the time to start a career oriented blog, use Facebook wisely and optimise LinkedIn
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27 Super Easy Tactics To Boost Your Twitter Strategy

27 Super Easy Tactics To Boost Your Twitter Strategy | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
Want to get your Twitter strategy on track to succeed? Use these 27 Twitter tactics 201 to align your social media activity with your business objectives.
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Marco Favero's curator insight, October 31, 4:13 AM

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How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy | Convince and Convert: Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy | Convince and Convert: Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
How to create a content marketing strategy your customers will love, in 7 steps. Build your content marketing plan with downloadable framework from Jay Baer.
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Facebook Post Interaction Rates, by Industry, in Q3 2014

Facebook Post Interaction Rates, by Industry, in Q3 2014 | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
Source: Adobe

Notes: The retail industry topped all others tracked in Q3 post interaction rates (comments, likes, shares, and other interactions), with its 4.18% average representing a 13% increase over the year-earlier period. No other industry experienced an increase in post engagement...
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5 Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Twitter Conversion Rates

5 Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Twitter Conversion Rates | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
Simplify the buying process for your followers and avoid this 5 mistakes that are hurting your Twitter conversion rates.
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Marco Favero's curator insight, October 14, 9:21 AM

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Growing a Following from Nothing: My Social Media Strategy

Growing a Following from Nothing: My Social Media Strategy | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
I've shared all of my insider secrets on how to grow your social following from the very beginning. Tools, techniques and growth hacks.
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Facebook admins learn tips to help them manage their Page, and learn which posts generate the most clicks and engagement.
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Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Marketing | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it

Five years ago Social Media Examiner launched to help business owners learn how to best use social media. Here are some of our most popular posts.

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Marco Favero's curator insight, October 9, 6:38 AM

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35 Growth Hacking Tools for Marketers Who Don’t Code

35 Growth Hacking Tools for Marketers Who Don’t Code | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it

Growth hacking is one of the most talked-about terms in the startup and marketing worlds. Some see it as a revolutionary way of shaping and accelerating startup growth, while others consider it a fancy word for marketing. I used to fall into the latter camp, but Neil Patel’s guide to growth hacking helped me see how a growth hacker’s job differs from a traditional marketer’s job.

Here’s how Patel defines growth hacking:

Growth hackers, using their knowledge of product and distribution, find ingenious, technology-based, avenues for growth that sometimes push the bounds of what is expected or advised.

How does this differ from marketing? While traditional marketers have a broad focus ranging from building out a marketing team to defining an overall marketing strategy, growth hackers focus on one thing and one thing only: growth. But this doesn’t mean that marketers can’t be great growth hackers.

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Marco Favero's curator insight, November 13, 4:10 PM

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How to Transform Your LinkedIn Profile Into a Marketing Tool

How to Transform Your LinkedIn Profile Into a Marketing Tool | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
Do you want to use your LinkedIn profile to market yourself more effectively?

Have you thought beyond adding a list of jobs and responsibilities?

LinkedIn is the number-one social network for professionals, but that doesn’t mean you have to treat your profile as a traditional, boring resume.

In this article you’ll discover four ways to turn your bland LinkedIn profile into a LinkedIn marketing tool that attracts potential decision makers.
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Marco Favero's curator insight, November 13, 4:10 PM

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The 17 Best Tools to Get Your Content Its Largest Audience

The 17 Best Tools to Get Your Content Its Largest Audience | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
When you’re creating useful, actionable, epic content, everyone deserves to see it.
So how do you get your hard work and effort seen by the largest audience possible?
We’ve considered that question often at Buffer, as we try to maximize our content so it reaches the people who need it. There are certain strategies you can put into place for spreading your content far and wide, and there are a good number of tools that can help these strategies run super smooth.
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Marco Favero's curator insight, November 12, 10:16 AM

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How to Improve Your Social Media Holiday Campaigns

How to Improve Your Social Media Holiday Campaigns | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
Do you have a social media plan for the holidays? Are you looking for ideas to improve your social media marketing over the holiday season? Whether you sell a product or service, social media can help you engage with holiday shoppers and generate more sales. In this article I'll share resources for building a social…
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Marco Favero's curator insight, November 11, 6:15 PM

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How to Build a Powerful Network Using LinkedIn

How to Build a Powerful Network Using LinkedIn | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
How often do you leverage your LinkedIn network? Do you want to strategically improve and grow your connections? In building your LinkedIn network, the more selective you are, the more valuable your network is. In this article I'll explain how to build a smart LinkedIn network. Why Build a Smart LinkedIn Network? LinkedIn can give you…
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How to Improve Your Facebook News Feed Visibility

How to Improve Your Facebook News Feed Visibility | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
Are you tired of your Facebook posts getting buried in the news feed? Want to get your Facebook posts seen? Facebook algorithms dictate how many people see your updates. Two recent changes should help you get more organic reach and lower your frustration level. In this article, I'll share how you can adjust your Facebook…
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Marco Favero's curator insight, October 31, 4:12 AM

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Why My Content Strategy Needed to Change, and Yours May Too | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
Perhaps many businesses would be satisfied with 100,000 readers a month, reliable lead generation and consistently solid SEO. Wishpond isn't like many businesses.
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Why Copyblogger Is Killing Its Facebook Page | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
An audience-first approach drives Copyblogger, and that's just one of the reasons why it's killing its Facebook page. Find out what led to this decision.
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Marco Favero's curator insight, October 17, 4:48 PM

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How to Remove Your Embarrassing Photos From Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

How to Remove Your Embarrassing Photos From Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC] | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
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3 Techniques That Will Double Your Social Media Content with Half the Effort

3 Techniques That Will Double Your Social Media Content with Half the Effort | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
We might as well figure out how to do more social media in less time and with less effort. The following tactical methods have been proven to produce twice the amount of social media with only half of the effort.
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Watch How Word of Ebola Exploded in America

Watch How Word of Ebola Exploded in America | SocialMedia_me | Scoop.it
Exclusive Twitter data shows how conversation about the virus has escalated dramatically
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