How I Get Digital ROI Even in Not-So-Digital Healthcare

Even in Health IT, there is a movement towards connecting.

Even in Health IT, there is a movement towards connecting.

Recently, I was nominated as one of the top 100 most influential people in my field on Twitter for 2014–the #HIT100 list.

This is interesting and slightly amusing as I largely ignored the professional use of social media, Twitter in particular, for years. Sure, I created an account back in 2009, but I was reluctant to be very outspoken on the platform, partly due to the industry I work in. Healthcare has been a laggard in social media. I am in the business of helping healthcare providers navigate incentive and quality reporting programs – most notably with Meaningful Use and PQRS. I do this in the form of training on the programs, coaching practices on customizing and optimizing their EHR usage, and mock-auditing EHR data that has been submitted to CMS to ensure it is indeed audit-proof.

How could this apply to the world of ‘status updates’ and ‘tweets’ and such? I’ll be honest – I struggled with finding my professional ‘digital’ voice. It felt odd to reach out to the connections I had on the platform because they were mostly strangers. It wasn’t until the last year or so— by following relevant industry leaders, hashtags, and also by tuning in at specific times each week around a topic—that I started building and growing more professional relationships. In other words, I started putting some time into nurturing my online presence.

One way I was able to do this and not make it my full-time job was as a result of using a product I was introduced to at John Lynn’s Healthcare IT Marketing and PR conference. That product, Content Carnivores, empowers me to take my online personal brand into my own hands. Carnivores is a bit like a data-driven matchmaker for online content. I gave them the keywords and topics that most interest me and they find great stories that are ranked, sorted and delivered to their app. I spend about 10 minutes each morning sifting through the results that CC has aggregated for me. I scan each post and share the ones that I think others in my industry might benefit from. If there are stories that are not a great fit, I reject them / choose not to share them. Depending on how involved I want to get in the details, I can edit the message, add a hashtag, or even add an image to the posts. This has become part of my daily routine and is one of the easiest to perform (and most rewarding) tasks of my day. It’s also fun to see the engagement score that comes back into the app after sharing. It’s an ongoing barometer of what people are finding most engaging.

After some time, I noticed that these online engagements were starting real life conversations–which leads to phone calls, collaborations, and projects. By sharing stories on the topics I care about, my passions, interests, and knowledge-base gets clearly communicated to my followers. Then when people search my name, my involvement and passion for health IT is clearly shown with the results. It builds presence and it builds trust.

Both are important to me for a number of reasons. I am based out of San Diego and the majority of my clients work in states other than mine. I need people to find me. I need brand recognition. I need my reputation in the industry to be that of a subject matter expert, thought-leader, and someone who is organized, thorough, detail-oriented, and also aware of the unique and complicated healthcare landscape. And I need to be approachable.

I want doctors to be able to focus on the important job of treating patients and leave the paper pushing to me. I feel the same about my social media program. It should free me up to interact with people–not suck up all of my time with the process.

Now I don’t know what I would do without my social networks. When I meet my social media contacts in real life, it’s often with a hug. I get to learn about what they’re doing and send them referrals. They get to learn about what I’m doing and send referrals to me. It’s the best kind of word of mouth marketing I could hope for.

My Results with help from Content Carnivores:

  • Twitter Followers: From ~200 to ~1000 in 9 months
  • Nominated to the #HIT100 for 2014
  • Invitation to host/moderate several Twitter chats based on my Twitter activity:
    • #KareoChat (July & October)
    • #HITchicks (August)
    • #HITsm (November)
    • You can still see the activity from these TweetUps at the hashtags
  • Invited to sit on social media panel for Healthcare Unbound conference to share my social media experience with other healthcare professionals
  • Increased activity / automatic content sharing frees me up to engage on a more personal level to develop relationships / alliances.
  • Real social referrals and social leads

Originally Published on LinkedIn by Joy Rios, Health IT Consultant

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