Friday, June 22, 2012

You've Told Us About Social, Why Should We Care?

On more than one occasion, we have used this blog to talk about some of the major obstacles standing between the healthcare industry, and social media. Almost as often as we share those posts, we hear people wondering why it matters so much. FierceHealthcare editor Karen M. Chung decided to tackle that question head on.

When a patient at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals' Headache Center complained on Twitter about a long wait, Jefferson Director of Social Media Josh Goldstein was monitoring the Jefferson brand on Twitter at the time. Goldstein, who was off campus, immediately texted the interactive marketing team to go the waiting room and find the patient. It turned out the patient had never signed in at the computer kiosk.

The matter was resolved in only a matter of minutes…

Chung is pointing out what may be the biggest hurdle in understanding the usefulness of social technology.

Social media isn’t about marketing, for these facilities, it’s about customer service.

Hospitals today are desperate to improve the customer experience, and to speed the process of patient care. As Chung’s anecdote exemplifies, social media could be the perfect tool to meet those ends. By using social media channels, such as Twitter or Facebook, as a reactive tool, not a broadcasting tool, hospitals can locate the pain points in their customer experience, and address them.

Chung speaks to PriceWaterhouseCooper’s Vaughn Kauffman, who explains

"Consumers are already engaging in this space with each other at a high frequency," Kauffman explained. "It really is an opportunity for health industry companies to take advantage of this channel of access."

Your customers are already talking about your facility. It’s only a matter of time until they start asking if anyone is listening.


Pam Argeris is a thought leader in the Healthcare Industry and possesses extensive, hands-on experience with CMS compliance, and multiple regulatory bodies such as NCQA, JACHO, and DOI. In her role at Merrill Corp., Pam focuses on developing solutions for compliance and quality assurance, delivered in a cost effective manner to improve beneficiary and prospect communications. You can contact Pam at

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