Customer Experience and Design

Social Business Replacing Social Media in Healthcare

This week alone I fielded three requests from healthcare organizations looking to embed social media into their traditional portal collaboration strategies. The interest can be divided into these camps:

  1. Organizations looking to implement enterprise portal solutions that provide colleagues with a way to communicate in a dynamic way. This is oftentimes being done more specifically as part of an overall physician loyalty program to attract and retain physicians in light of increased turnover.
  2. Organizations looking to implement social media into patient portals to address the rapidly shifting role of the patient within the traditional care model. Patients are demanding greater access to healthcare professionals, greater access to their data, and alternative care models. Likewise, organizations want to contain costs and improve quality of care, and portal solutions that are web 2.0 capable are becoming increasingly relevant as a solution to this problem.
  3. Health insurers looking into ways to have more positive engagement with their members. In this age of healthcare reform, and with the number of self-insured on the rise, insurance companies are seeking ways to be more creative with their member portals as a result. As offerings like Cake Health (featured in our post earlier this week) become more plentiful, health insurance plans will need to find creative ways to increase member loyalty.

Enter an article I read this week in Fast Company called, “Move Over Social Media; Here Comes Social Business“. The article actually profiles IBM and how it’s moving businesses into a new era of collaboration that it calls “social business”. As coincidence would have it, members of our Perficient team did a webinar back in February during the week of the HIMSS conference called Collaboration Excellence: Strategies for Enabling a Social Business, which spotlights our work at Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN. You can check that out on our webinar page or on the Portal Collaboration page of our healthcare site.

What was most interesting about the article was the seven reasons listed for why every company should be thinking about becoming a social business. You should take a look at the full list, but here are three interpreted specifically for the healthcare industry:

  1. Social media will be dwarfed by social business: Social media is being used in hopes of helping hospitals communicate with patients. However, if hospitals want to become truly patient-centric, they need to look at how patients are interacting with their organization and continually apply these learnings to practices and processes…not just marketing efforts.
  2. Patients seek care from people, not hospitals: Clinicians should be front and center in outreach activities. Gallup’s Patient Satisfaction Survey shows that patients are loyal to physicians, not healthcare organizations. Use that dynamic to leverage more patient loyalty for your healthcare organization.
  3. You don’t need to eat the whole social business elephant in one bite: In our current projects we are recommending a phased roadmap that builds on existing technologies. This allows healthcare organizations to grow their social business over time.

Have any questions about social business in healthcare? I’d love to hear your questions and comments below.

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