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Social Media Summit at Mayo Clinic: Day Two Exclusive Report

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EXCLUSIVE POST – Tuesday was definitely multimedia day at the Mayo Ragan Social Media Summit

EXCLUSIVE POST – Tuesday was definitely multimedia day at the Mayo Ragan Social Media Summit

Lee Aase, Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, kicked off the meeting with a rundown of the Mayo Clinic’s experience with social media, highlighting the “MacGyver” (i.e., jerry-rigged) approach he advocates, using free and low-cost tools, and the online Social Media University, Global, of which he has appointed himself Chancellor, with tongue planted firmly in cheek.  We were treated to the viral video of octogenarian pianists shown on the big screen (closing in on 7.8 million views as of this writing), and the stars of the video happened to be in town this week for appointments, so Lee presented them with the “Healthy Virus” award.  (This is a video of an older couple playing the piano in one of the Mayo Clinic’s buildings, shot by an amateur, which has yielded an incredible amount of free publicity for Mayo – including a feature on Japanese TV, and an appearance by the couple on one of the TV network morning shows.)  Lee then showed “another hospital’s” Pink Glove Dance video – which also went viral promoting breast cancer awareness a couple years ago, and explained that Mayo Clinic was about to launch a cardiac health app (awaiting final app store approval), and shared the video he clearly hopes goes viral as well: the “Know Your Numbers” video, which is a parody of the Tommy Tutone classic song and video “867-5309/Jenny” from a number of years back.  Very clever, and part of a broader social media campaign to raise awareness about cardiac health, the Mayo app, and Mayo Clinic services.

Later in the day, Danielle Cass presented the “virtual” community side of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health, a state-of-the-art conference center that opened this year in DC, and she described the grand opening, which included the first installment of The Walking Gallery (follow the link to see more on this instance of patient advocacy via wearable art, courtesy of Regina Holliday, artist and advocate for health data liberation; see video here).  Danielle explained her jacket, and she asked e-Patient Dave and me (David Harlow) to share our jackets and their stories as well.

Chris Boyer closed out his presentation with a little song he wrote (he accompanied himself on the ukulele), about social media ROI.

Not only was the day entertaining, it was informative and engaging, too. 

Chris Boyer’s presentation, for example, walked us through his assumptions and calculations which yielded a significant, precise ROI (of about 1400%) on a social media campaign that resulted in 40 procedures that may not have happened at his institution without the campaign.  Others focused on the value of social media to inform and educate both patients and physicians. 

Wendy Sue Swanson (@SeattleMamaDoc) delivered the final keynote of the day in her trademarked mile-a-minute speaking mode, and emphasized that she uses social media to listen, as well as to provide information to patients that can’t be delivered in the always-too-short office visit.  She described the tools she wishes she had, including the telephone dictation system that would automatically understand which patient she’s talking about, transcribe her phoned-in notes, and file them appropriately in the patient’s EHR.  Echoing themes from several mobile health presentations here, she would also like to have a better way of reaching out to patients via text messages, since a significant proportion of all cell phone users report that their preferred mode of receiving information is via text. 

An e-patient panel traced the experiences of patients with an extremely rare condition who were initially misdiagnosed, then treated, and who then found each other online and convinced Mayo clinicians to put together a clinical study of 80 “SCAD” patients who were part of an online community.

There were, of course, multiple sessions that I missed (can’t be in three places at once), and I encourage you to peruse the #mayoragan tweetstream to get a taste of the whole experience.

The hopes for the future expressed by Wendy Sue Swanson set the tone for the dinner and meeting I attended later on: the External Advisory Board of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media had an in-person meeting (in a beautiful setting, by the way – see photos 3-5 on this post by Dan Dunlop) where we were able to kick back a little, step away from the immediate concerns with which we were occupied in the day’s sessions, and think about a longer-term series of priorities.  It was great to see so many folks in real life who I have known only on line for so long, and to reconnect with folks who I have met before.  With all the energy in this little “bubble” it is important to remember that the nearly 400 folks here at this conference are early adopters, in some cases at the bleeding edge, and that we all need to help others – patients, physicians, institutions – begin to use social media tools effectively for the purposes that are most useful to them.

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About author
DAVID HARLOW is Principal of The Harlow Group LLC, a health care law and consulting firm based in the Hub of the Universe, Boston, MA. His thirty years’ experience in the public and private sectors affords him a unique perspective on legal, policy and business issues facing the health care community. David is adept at assisting clients in developing new paradigms for their business organizations, relationships and processes so as to maximize the realization of organizational goals in a highly regulated environment, in realms ranging from health data privacy and security to digital health strategy to physician-hospital relationships to the avoidance of fraud and abuse. He's been called "an expert on HIPAA and other health-related law issues [who] knows more than virtually anyone on those topics.” ( His award-winning blog, HealthBlawg, is highly regarded in both the legal and health policy blogging worlds. David is a charter member of the external Advisory Board of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network and has served as the Public Policy Chair of the Society for Participatory Medicine, on the Health Law Section Council of the Massachusetts Bar Association and on the Advisory Board of FierceHealthIT. He speaks regularly before health care and legal industry groups on business, policy and legal matters. You should follow him on Twitter.
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