How to Speak with Hospital Executives About Social Media – Part II

In Part I of how to speak with hospital executives on social media, I rattled off a list of items to consider when approaching hospital executives concerning social media and other contemporary technologies. Here are more:

Costs and Risks of Social Media

Think about how executives view the world: they know full well that nothing comes without costs and risks. No effort in social media is without cost or risk. You have to be very open about this – in fact, during the initial discussion, the down-sides aught to be among the first things to point out. Why? Because we’re discussing Investment, and we all know that investments begin with cost and risk. Since social media are so ramifying and┬árepurposable and plastic, you must consider the wide range of opportunities and dangers they pose.

Remember that business propositions ultimately hope for one of two kinds of assets: tangible and intangible. Calculations for return on investment were developed for investment decision-making on tangible capital projects – holding companies that owned multiple subsidiaries needed a quick method to decide on the vast array of capital projects. So we use them today. Such calculations don’t always work very well for intangibles. What matters is the basis for decision-making. If you can’t offer a traditional roi calculation then you better have some other basis for executive decision-making. Smart executives understand this – so never evade roi: just offer easy tools for them to give the permissions you seek.

Internal Value Extraction

Too often, the focus of how to uses social media is on public uses – marketing, communications, customer service. But there are internal values to using these media (if they’re placed within the right contexts and processes). Executives are always seeking value extraction within their organizations. If you can identify one, two or three simple ways to incorporate social or other digital technologies – even if on in a limited trial – you can better illuminate how these media can be useful.

You also need to explain the difference between Consumer Media and Enterprise Media. What works on Twitter and Facebook might not port well into the enterprise. So far, we don’t have many instances of Enterprise social media, but vendors will develop solutions eventually.

For a little help in understanding internal value extraction, watch The Ask:

That’s it for now. I’m going to continue this series in future posts. This is an important issue because unless we get movement in the C-suite and the rest of organizations, patients are the ones who won’t get the benefits they deserve.

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter


0 Replies to “How to Speak with Hospital Executives About Social Media – Part II”

  1. Enterprise social media is an untapped power of social media. I work in healthcare, which necessarily, is a collaborative process. The members of the team or tribe needed to work on a problem often shift depending upon the task at hand. Using social media broadens the possibilities of participants and points of view which are necessary to solving complex problems. I know in healthcare we worry about the external content and privacy issues a lot, but those concerns do not limit the ability of social media to connect possible team members, both near and far, to help solve a problem.

    1. Hi Sarha

      Agree – enhancing collaboration with the right kinds of media is a huge untapped area.

      I’m a former clinician myself, so I understand the critical importance of streamlining information streams, improving relevant and timely messaging between the right parties and documenting care – among many other processes.

      The rise of consumer media like Twitter and Facebook have given us glimpses of new ways of communication, but they won’t port well into the clinical setting. They have features which can serve as inspiration, but their not the whole thing.

      I’m hoping we’ll see a new round of media which are more robust and offer ways to provide the right and relevant data at the right time in the right context within the right process. Huge, but important order.


  2. The discussion should not be framed on economic ROI, but rather the risk of not being master of your brand. If there is not a social media infrastructure in place, including resources to monitor what is being said about and contribute to online conversations, the image an institution has so carefully cultivated gets overrun by others. A prime example is BP during the oil spill. A fake BP twitter presence @BPglobalPR has almost seven time followers than the real BP site @BP_America. Executives have to understand that with Web 2.0, you can not control the message like you could with Web 1.0. The social media genie is out of the bottle, executives who wait run the risk of eroding their institution’s good will.


    1. I totally agree about emframming. The reality of dealing with many execs though is they want roi addressed. See Part II where I point out what they’re looking for and how to approach – they don’t always look for financial roi, but they do need some *basis* to open up permission to the staff to explore and roll-out the vision.


  3. As someone who helps clients, particularly those int eh health space with their web 2.0 and overall digital needs I applaud you for a great blog and getting the message out there that we need advocacy for communication adoption of social media.

    There are a number of enterprise level social media tools out there, often born from consultancy firms wanting to harness the power and opportunities of services like twitter but not wanting to open themselves up to data leaks and privacy issues.

    Check out Yammer as a good example, or look at setting up an internal notification based wikipedia service like confluence, content posted to the cloud and notifications sent via mobile or push messaging alerts like twitter – require native app on the user handset or device.


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