In early October 2013 the Geisinger Health system held a special one-day conference on social media. I was unable to attend since I was at the annual American College of Surgeons meeting in Washington DC.
I would hope that from such a meeting Geisinger would come out of the dark ages and start to allow its employees and others to access social media while they are on their facilities.
Since the meeting nothing has changed. Though wireless access now no longer requires a password when you get a message to ‘like’ Geisinger on Facebook while on it’s wireless system you find yourself instantly blocked.
Similarly, access to Twitter, Pinterest or any of the other important social media sites continue to be blocked. Any inquiry about the reasons are met with the answer that Geisinger is very concerned about patient privacy. Why can large systems like the Mayo Clinic successfully engage with social media? Is Mayo any less concerned about patient privacy than Geisinger, I doubt this is true.
Meanwhile patients and their family, doctors, nurses, other healthcare providers are walking around Geisinger most of whom are carrying a mobile computer in the form of a smart phone or tablet. These folks have the ability to photograph or film anything going on in the hospital so if Geisinger is so concerned about privacy why doesn’t it confiscate these devices at the door? Instead of metal detectors, Geisinger could install detectors for smart devices.
I am being facetious. My hope is that with time and I hope this time is soon, that the Geisinger system will allow access to Social Media. It is only through such access that the system can improve its engagement with patients and their families. The benefits are immeasurable.
I am like everyone is learning how Social Media interacts with Surgery, specifically my own specialty of Colon and Rectal Surgery.
The wrong thing to do is to turn away, say I’m too busy, I have enough patients to see. The key is not to look strictly at Social Media as a marketing tool.
Everybody has a digital footprint. All doctors can be found on every search engine.
Many things are being written about us, how good we are or who bad we are.
We have to write our own story I learned today. If we doctors don’t write our own story, someone else will do it for you.
We need to control our story, that is why we need to engage in Social Media. We have to drive the conversation.
We can’t stay on the sideline, we have to get into the game – now.
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