Yesterday the Mayo Clinic announced it was opening a social media center to train other health care providers on the applications of social media to better connect with patients. Whether or not Mayo is the “expert” in this scenario may be debatable but I was pleased to see their attempts to move the industry forward, which frankly has been the proverbial long tail in the adoption curve.
And then I scrolled down to see comments like these…
“Note that this is not about providing better patient care–it’s about selling. Chalk up one more for increased health care costs.” – langton04
“Twitter? Twitter is for little girls, self-absorbed executives, and Lance Armstrong.” – teddyg
“Worst. Idea. Ever.” – questioner
WHOA! What’s with all the haters? My first reaction was to reply right then and there to all the naysayers on the Minneapolis Star Tribune but I had to go through this huge rigmarole just to register with the site (which is an entirely different story), so I abandoned that effort and decided to post my response here.
I am amazed at the ignorance displayed by some of these posters. There’s about $700 billion of wasteful spending in healthcare right now and I would argue that a good chunk of that is caused by poor, uninformed decision making. The adoption of social media in healthcare can only increase transparency in what has traditionally been a very closed model. So how does the proliferation of social media in healthcare translate to higher costs or worse care? If costs are artificially high, economic theory would tell us there’s an imperfection in the market, and part of that is transparency (or in this case, a lack thereof).
By empowering healthcare consumers to speak candidly with providers we can only improve that transparency – whether by comparing costs, assessing the need for certain procedures, or just promoting good ‘ol preventative care.
I’ll end with this: Don’t rush to judgment. If Mayo is only it for the money (per langton04), people will figure that out soon enough (though I’d argue so what if they are, so long as there is a corresponding public benefit). For now we have nothing to lose. I commend Mayo and hope others will take a queue by listening up. We just might learn something about one another.