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10 Useful Resources Shared at HMPS18

Posted on May 15, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

I recently had the opportunity to attend Healthcare Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit (#HMPS18) in Salt Lake City. This was my second time attending the conference and it was just as exciting and educational as my first experience

Consumerism and improving the patient experience dominated the conference with many sessions and exhibit booths dedicated to strategies, tactics and technologies that were designed to address the challenge of rising patient expectations. Many familiar names were exhibitors including: Lionshare, Stericycle Communication Solutions, Influence Health, ReviveHealth, MERGE Atlanta, Healthgrades, Tea Leaves, True North Custom, Evariant, and Hailey Sault.

There have already been some great summaries written about the conference. Most notably from:

Rather than write another summary I thought I would share some of the amazing resources that were shared during the conference – resources that I believe anyone in Healthcare that is involved in marketing or patient experience would find helpful.

One of the best resources was from Shawn Gross of White Rhino. In his session Shawn walked us through a “Micro-Moments of Patient Trust” journey map. This is about as succinct a map as you’ll find that captures the essential elements of a typical interaction with a non-chronic patient.

Amy Jose from Spectrum Healthcare Partners captured this enlightening chart from Cleveland Clinic that shows what social media channels they post to during the day. It wasn’t surprising to see that Facebook and Twitter dominate the chart, but what was a bit shocking was the frequency. Kudos to the Cleveland Clinic team for developing enough content to drive this level of social interaction.

One of the undertones of HMPS18 was that the role of Healthcare Marketers is changing. Instead of being just a master of traditional marketing tactics, leaders will be expected to be master scientists as well. The Marketer Scientist will need to mix data analysis, systems thinking and technology prowess along with storytelling, branding and leading change.

This slide captured by Meghan Lugo from Jennings is a great reminder to anyone in sale or marketing. My favorite is #5 – focus on helping not selling. When you help someone, you create a real connection. Connection leads to trusted relationships and relationships are the foundation for any sale. True for Health IT software and equally true for healthcare services.

While at the conference I had the opportunity to be one of three audience members for a podcast recording hosted by Reed Smith and Chris Boyer. Interesting insights on Facebook and healthcare’s new “digital front door” were shared by the podcast panelists: @dandunlop @tmoore634RN @AndrewDRainey and JK Loyd

Need help convincing senior management that you need to invest in service recovery? Check out these amazing comments from HCA patients that revised poor online reviews after the hospital made sincere efforts to make it right.

Linda McCracken shared a sobering slide about how much consumer experiences are influencing patient expectations – and rightfully so. I was surprised at how 45% of people will not travel more than 10 miles for routine care. Can anyone say tele-consults?

Another great share from Amy Jose, this time a slide full of stats on patient and consumer digital health usage.

One of the best sessions I attended at HMPS18 was this one with Renown Health CEO Tony Slonim MD @RenownCEOTonyMD and Chief Marketing Officer, Suzanne Hendrey @healthmktr. It was full of great tips and suggestions on how senior executives can engage with patient and the community in an authentic way that also helps drive towards the goals of the organization. Thankfully for those that couldn’t be there Dan Dunlop Periscoped the entire session.

Finally, there’s this video shared by Paul Griffiths friend and CEO of MedTouch. It’s not a resource per se, but it is a touching video that tells his personal story and what’s driving him to improve healthcare.

 

It’s a Good Thing #HealthIT Marketing is Diversifying

Posted on April 26, 2017 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

It’s been 3 weeks since 200+ Healthcare IT Marketers/PR experts gathered in Las Vegas for the annual HITMC conference and I just sorted through all the pictures I took of the event. As I was swiping through the photos, I was struck by the number of new faces at the conference. The prior two HITMCs that I attended were like reunions – everywhere you turned you would see HealthIT industry veterans. Everyone knew each other.

Seeing all the new faces in my photos was encouraging. To me the infusion of fresh faces signals that HealthIT companies are finally investing in Marketing – a sign that the industry is maturing. In the land-grab situation that marked the last 6 years of HealthIT, Sales was the primary focus…and rightly so. Incentive money was flowing freely and healthcare organizations were clamouring to adopt EHRs to take advantage of that government program before the well ran dry. In 2016 it finally did.

The end of incentives has had profound effect on the HealthIT industry and I believe that the shift to more investment in Marketing is one of the fortuitous consequences. HealthIT companies have to compete smarter and have to stand out from all the noise. Gone are the days when you could out-sell your competitor with more feet on the street. I for one am excited about this development (of course being a marketer I’m completely biased) and HITMC was a timely proof point.

It was not only the number of new attendees at HITMC that surprised me. As I got to know my fellow attendees, I was struck by how many had only recently entered the healthcare world. Quite a few had come from non-healthcare B2B technology companies and from agencies that were focused more in the commercial (non-healthcare) space.

In my blog “The B2B Vendors are Coming” I wrote how at HIMSS17 the presences of non-healthcare B2B vendors on the exhibit floor was noticeable. Companies like Samsung, Salesforce, Intel, IBM, Chase and Verizon all had big booths. To me this was proof that the HealthIT market was moving away from traditional Healthcare specific vendors to a more mixed set of vendors.

HITMC17 was further proof that HealthIT market is diversifying. As more and more marketers are hired with non-healthcare backgrounds we will see a change (dare I say evolution) of how HealthIT is positioned, marketed and pitched. HealthIT companies are going to start to look and feel like other B2B technologies, use more advanced marketing tactics and be much more commercial in nature.

I am looking forward to this evolution.

The “Feature List” Disconnect from Healthcare Problems

Posted on April 22, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

One of the big takeaways coming out of the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference is that most health IT companies are still spouting out the features they offer and very few actually talk about the problems they solve. This is a huge mistake for a health IT company, but it’s also a big reason why most hospital executives don’t want to hear from you.

As a healthcare executive you’re inundated with marketing and sales pitches and after a while they all start to look the same. Plus, many (some might say most) of those pitches require the hospital executive to try and translate a long list of features into the problems that executive is trying to solve. It’s no wonder that most hospital executives barely look at these pitches and often aren’t aware of the opportunities for innovation that exist for the problems they’re trying to solve.

Think about how many healthcare IT companies could list the following set of features in their sales and marketing:

  • Data Analytics
  • FHIR Enabled
  • HIPAA Compliant
  • EHR Integration
  • Machine Learning
  • Mobile Optimized
  • Real Time Processing
  • etc

I could keep going on, but you get the point. I’m reminded of something Shahid Shah said at our session at HIMSS. No one in healthcare has an interoperability problem. His point isn’t that interoperability isn’t important or valuable. His point was that no one is trying to solve interoperability. They have other problems they are trying to solve and data sharing (ie. interoperability) might be the solution. However, when they think about their problems and challenges interoperability is not on that list.

Hospital systems definitely have plenty of problems they’re trying to solve. Here’s just a few examples to give you a flavor of problems hospital executives are working to solve:

  • Improving HCAPHS Scores
  • Reducing Hospital Readmissions
  • Improving Provider Efficiency
  • Ensuring Accurate Patient Identification
  • Lowering Sepsis Numbers
  • etc

This list never ends. These are problems that hospital executives are working to solve and understanding which problems are vexing a hospital executive is key to getting them interested in the solutions. I think this small change would make it so hospital executives dread the wave of marketing and sales pitches a little less. The reality is that most of these executives are looking for great solutions. It’s just often hard for them to know what problems your company can really solve.

Of course, the next challenge is showing proof of your ability to solve the problem. However, at least that gets a hospital executive one step closer to finding solutions to their problems and challenges.

HealthIT Trends from Healthcare Marketing Leaders

Posted on April 15, 2016 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

Last week 180+ HealthIT Marketers gathered in Atlanta for the #HITMC conference hosted by John Lynn and Shahid Shah. This annual event brings together content creators, editors, graphics artists, strategists, analysts and managers from across the healthcare industry. It is a truly unique opportunity to learn from those that work at marketing agencies, publications, provider organizations, HealthIT companies and marketing vendors.

One of the things I love to do at #HITMC is ask fellow marketers what topics they are being asked to write about and create content for. This informal poll is a fantastic way to gain insight into what will be trending over the next few months in healthcare. Why? Because if someone in the #HITMC audience is writing about it, you can rest assured it’ll be something you will soon see in your Twitter, LinkedIn, RSS or Facebook feed.

Here is a sampling of the responses I gathered at #HITMC:

Chris Slocumb @CSlocumb – CQ Marketing

“We’re doing a lot of work on security. From the provider side we’re talking about whether the right safeguards are in place and from the vendor side we’re writing about how their tools can help with securing an organization. Analytics, HIEs and interoperability are also topics we are creating content for. Conversely we’re not seeing much in the area of patient engagement right now.”

Shereese Maynard MS @ShereesePubHlth – Envisioncare

“I find that I’m doing work in the area of Home Health right now. It’s something that providers are waking up to – the potential for care at home to help patients stay healthier at lower cost. Providers and patients alike are looking to read more on that topic. Personally I’m very interested in Direct Primary Care. I think it’s a topic that will bubble to the top soon.”

Scott CollinsAria Marketing

“Thought leadership is hot right now. It’s not exactly a specific topic, but I’m seeing a lot of companies hop onto the thought leadership bandwagon. It’s like vendors have suddenly woken up to the fact that getting ‘out there’ and demonstrating your expertise on a subject is going to lead to more business. It’s exciting. In terms of a topic, population health is something I’m seeing a lot of, but one level deeper than before. Instead of just defining it we’re going to be talking about how it will help specific communities. Oh and security is BIG.”

Beth Friedman @HealthITPR – Agency Ten22

“I’m seeing a lot of requests for content around bundled payments, revenue cycle and the new self-pay patient. The financial side of healthcare is changing.”

From the conversations at #HITMC, I would definitely say security and payment are the two hottest topics right now. Security isn’t really all that surprising given the number of recent ransomware attacks. The topic of payment and revenue cycle, however, caught me a little by surprise. I thought (hoped) interoperability or patient data access would have been a trending topic. Given the changes to reimbursement models, the movement to value-based care and the popularity of high-deductible health plans, it’s no wonder this is garnering a lot of readership/interest.

Shameless Plug: If you work in HealthIT marketing or for a HealthIT publication, I would strongly encourage you to attend #HITMC next year. Not only are the sessions educational, but by listening to the attendees you’ll get a pulse of what is trending in healthcare. Hopefully we’ll see you next year!

HIMSS15 and Hospital Marketing Conference

Posted on March 4, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I was looking over my calendar yesterday and realized that the HIMSS Annual conference is just around the corner. I’m sure that many of you know about the event that brings together over 1200 healthcare IT vendors together with somewhere around 30,000 attendees. Long story short, it’s a massive healthcare IT event that brings together so many people in the healthcare IT industry.

Since we live, breathe and sleep healthcare IT, it’s an amazing event for us to connect with thousands of healthcare IT professionals. Plus, we do a lot of work with vendors who are exhibiting at the event and want to help differentiate themselves from the other 1200 vendors. If you’re from a vendor that’s interested in what we have to offer, reach out to us on our contact us page.

Will you be at HIMSS 2015? If so, we’d love to know about it and love meeting our readers in person. I’ll be leading a social media and influencer meetup at HIMSS and we’ll be announcing the details for the New Media Meetup on Tuesday evening very soon.

If you won’t be at HIMSS, check out our Spring 2015 Healthcare IT Conference and Event schedule to see where else we’ll be.

Hospital Marketing, Social Media, and PR Conference
One of the events on that list is the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference which we organize. We’ve really worked to expand the event to be of interest to hospital marketing, PR and social media professionals. For example, we’ve added a number of hospital marketing focused sessions to the conference program.

It’s always interesting to see who takes on the marketing and social media responsibility at a hospital. Most CIOs see it as a marketing function even though there are a lot of really technical aspects to the marketing and social media needs of a hospital. We have a session at the conference that highlights what an integration of the IT team and the Marketing team can mean for your organization. It’s amazing the difference it can make.

What other healthcare IT events do you have on your agenda this Spring? I always love to hear what people find interesting.

Hospital Marketing

Posted on January 30, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I mentioned previously and some of you might have noticed the banner at the top of Hospital EMR and EHR that I organize the Health IT Marketing and PR Conference (HITMC). In case you haven’t seen the details, it’s happening May 7-8, 2015 in Las Vegas. Early Bird registration is over tomorrow, and so I’ve been seeing a wave of registrations hitting my email inbox as people register at the last minute. It’s been fun and exciting to see the healthcare marketing and PR community come together. If you’re not in that community, please share the conference with your colleagues who are.

This year, we’ve started wading slowly into the general healthcare marketing world. I’m excited by a number of hospital focused marketing presentations that we’re going to have at the event. Sure, there are a lot of sessions on content marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Branding, PR, and social media that apply regardless of your type of organization. However, I’m excited to learn from some real experts in the hospital healthcare marketing space.

If you’re interested in what the conference will cover, we posted a preview of the HITMC 2015 sessions. Although, we still have a number of tricks up our sleeve that we haven’t announced yet. It’s going to be an exciting event.

If these topics interest you, be sure to also check out the #HITMC hashtag on Twitter. We held our first ever #HITMC Twitter chat and it was an extreme success. We’ll be doing another #HITMC chat on 2/24/15 at Noon ET (9 AM PT) where we’ll be talking about making the most of HIMSS. We’ll post the exact topic for the #HITMC chat a week or so before the chat on the Health IT Marketing and PR Conference blog.

Finally, I’d be remiss to do a post on hospital marketing and my conference and not mention the marketing event of the year: The Super Bowl. Let’s have a discussion in the comments about your favorite commercials and other social media you see during the Super Bowl. I’ll come back and add my comments as well.

Plus, my prediction: Seahawks for the Win! Who are you picking?

Health IT Marketing and PR Conference – Hospital Marketing

Posted on December 2, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’m excited to let you know about the 2nd Annual Health IT Marketing and PR Conference (HITMC) happening in Las Vegas on may 7-8, 2-15. This is an event we organizer to bring together the very best marketing and PR professionals in healthcare. Here’s a video from the inaugural event which gives you a feel for what you’ll find at this year’s event:

While a huge portion of the conference will still be focused on Healthcare B2B marketing, at HITMC 2015 we’re adding a number of sessions that will focus on marketing to patients as well. No doubt this will include lots of discussion on how hospitals can market their services to patients. Plus, many of the sessions apply to marketers of every kind: social media marketing, SEO (search engine optimization), content marketing, thought leadership, event marketing, etc.

We’re also creating a unique HITMC connect experience for attendees to connect with some of the smartest minds in healthcare marketing and PR. Plus, we’re working on creating a whole space dedicated to the tools every marketer needs to be able to do their jobs. Imagine a sandbox where you can literally get your hands dirty with the latest and greatest healthcare marketing tools.

As with most conferences, some of the greatest value of attending the event is the interactions you’ll have with other healthcare marketers. The event really does bring together the best and brightest in healthcare marketing. Everywhere you turn you’ll meet someone who’s dealing with some of the same challenges you’re facing in your job.

Early bird registration for the event is now open. If you register now, you’ll save $500 off the cost of the event. I hope to see many of you in Las Vegas.

Generating serious ROI from your content — it’s no pipedream!

Posted on July 18, 2010 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

As I’ve met with current and potential clients and partners, I’ve been lobbing what may be a heretical idea over the fence. The idea? That even though they’re not in the business of publishing newsletters and magazines or writing reports, the content they house can be turned into money, sometimes quickly.  And moreover, that they can measure how much value they’ve generated in real-dollar terms, at least some of the time.

When I say content can be turned to money, I have several models in mind. Some of them are already pretty familiar:

Marketing communications: Taking stories you already have internally — such as case studies on successful outcomes — and getting some publicity. That can certainly  help attract patients, though it’s hard to figure out just which patients were influenced by what  message.  Not hard to pull off, as we’re mostly talking text.

Price: $500 to $2,000 per case researched/written up if outsourced to serious marcomm pros

ROI: Potentially, some measurable increase in use of outpatient procedures which are needed, scary and common, as well as as well as new admissions, especially for specialties like OB/GYN where womend o a lot of shopping.  Wild guess in revenue? $500K per year for a 150-bed community hospital if a few good stories are developed and promoted.

* Recruitment:  Gathering stories from clinical staffers on how the find work-life balance and satisfaction when affiliated with your institution.  That can be a bit more complicated to do, as video, photos and scripts may be called for, but the right presentation can be killer — even viral!

Price: From $500 for a crude effort to $2,000 for a glossier series of profiles with backup campaign involved.

ROI: Again using the example of the 150-bed community, if you brought in even four nurses you’d probably save $200K in recruiting costs.

As for doctors, depending on the specialty the amount could vary widely, depending on what in-demand specialties  you managed to attract, but we both know it’s more cost-effective to find someone who really wants to work with your institution than folks who show up because you throw ’em a big bonus.  If all this strategy does is save you having to come up with another $100K to $150K recruitment bonus, mission more than accomplished.

Is that all you got? Nope!

Next, I’ll talk about less conventional ways to add revenue or save expenses through smart use of the content (and don’t be fooled, I mean waaaay more than editorial content).  We’re talking things as important as changing referral patterns and building community support for controversial new ventures through the use of “social content.”  More to come on this!

The next generation of healthcare social content

Posted on July 5, 2010 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

If you’re like me, you’re tired of hearing about the entire social media mess– Twitter, Twanger, Facebook, Nosebook, StumbleUpon, FallDown, ClimbUp, YouTube, Tubular Bells, Foursquare, FiveSquare, Friends on a Stick, Digg, Dig-Dugg,  PasstheHat, you name it. 

I’m not going to deny that many of these channels (the ones I didn’t make up to be silly, of course) have some uses. I’ve been known to follow a Twitter conversation via hash tags, enjoy a few threaded conversations on Facebook, connected with some very useful businsess contacts on Linked in and promoted many a blog item on StumbleUpon and Digg. These are good, useful  activities which can sometimes offer real communications value.

But what’s the point of using any of them if all your organization does is pump out the least valuable information it has to offer? Neigborhood events. Cutesy press releases.  Links to clinical research done by your faculty (which is, of course, valuable, but hardly unique to your stream if a true discovery is involved.)  As I noted previously in an item on useless Twitter feeds, social media doesn’t matter if the society you want isn’t listening.

So, enter the notion of “social content,”  information written by pros — sometimes professional journalists in your field — who mine your organization for information that really matters and help present it in ways that build your healthcare organization’s brand. 

Facebook pages, for example, can become places for serious dialogues about health issues, hosted by your organization but run by people who are focused on real substance.  Social content involves real research, study and preparation, like the research and editorial efforts you see turned out by Modern Healthcare or Press Ganey.

Rather than issuing happy-talk nonsense statements, healthcare leaders can develop social content that shares their key concerns and team messages using the social media infrastructure.  These messages don’t involve some sort of tricky, gadgety approach to using social media channels;  they’re just stronger, clearer and far less shallow than what you might have done in the past.

The bottom line?  Creating social content isn’t a Big New Thing — it’s just a method of squeezing far more value into a smaller space and coordinating it with what you say elsewhere.  It’s confident , it promotes your mission, and it’s too damned important to ignore.

If we can help you begin a social content audit — to find out what kind of great content you’ve already got — just let me know.

Most hospital tweets are useless and stupid

Posted on June 28, 2010 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Hear ye, hear ye,  hospital marketers, I bring you a call to action. It’s time to wake up from the passive slumber you’ve been in and start thinking about Twitter as a strategic tool — as a way to find out what key stakeholders want, to inspire employees, to gather intelligence which can bond patients to your hospital and generally build your business.  It’s not a place to shoehorn your existing content is into a 140-character package.  My God no.

Right now, many hospital tweeters seem to think that Twitter is just another channel for publishing the same dull content they’ve always produced, and it’s killing their public image. Please believe me, because I’d dead serious about this: It’s killing your public image in Twitter-land. Many of you are coming across as slap-happy, unresponsive and, forgive me, actually rather dumb. I know you’re not, folks; I’m just telling you how it looks on our end.

What’s going wrong?  Well, here’s a few specific examples:

*  Twitter isn’t an appropriate venue for community relations messages.  Urging women to get a mammogram, announcing your new diabetes workshop or talking about the groundbreaking on your new parking garage all serve a purpose, but they’re b-o-r-i-n-g  tweets and do  nothing to build a relationship with followers.

*  Twitter isn’t a public relations platform. Who cares, even in your own community, that your maternity ward had a “babies are cool!” event?  Nobody. Once in a while, you may have real news to share — such as, perhaps, if your facility wins a national quality award like the Baldridge — but most of the time, the PR you generate is more for the benefit of your own bosses.  Please, spare us.

*  Twitter isn’t a tool for broadcasting blow-by-blow details of that neat Da Vinci robot procedure you had.  Sorry, guys, but the “tweet live surgery” idea wasn’t great to begin with, and it’s *certainly* played out now.

On the other hand, there’s dozens of ways hospitals can use Twitter to increase their credibility. I realize some of these won’t work for everyone, but they may kick-start some conversations:

*  Ask your followers to submit their most pressing questions about a common disorder (say, diabetes), then have one of your physicians to tweet answers to as many questions as possible. Follow  up the Q&A with a reminder that physicians like these can be found through your doc-finder line.

* Tweet a link to a survey on what services patients would like to see at your hospital. (You’ll find that you get a few responses from people halfway across the world, too, as everyone likes to be asked what they want.)  In the survey tweet, let patients know that they’ll get a reward for responding, such as a low-cost gift certificate.

*Rather than sending out blasts bragging about your own glorious accomplishments, send out tweets offering real medical news that might impact their life.  Act like your institution actually, uh, knows stuff.   If you’re trying to promote maternity services, for example, create a tweet stream updating moms-to-be on the latest advances in the field, suggestions on how to prepare for their birth experience and what they can expect when they arrive at your facility to give birth.

*  Hire an official tweeter with actual hard-news background, perhaps a freelancer with a broad view of the medical world, and let them find and pass along high quality news which increases your reputation among both patients and professionals.

* Create a sub-list of doctors affiliated with your institution (and perhaps those you might want to come over) and have an ongoing conversation with them about their needs and interests.

So, what have you been trying on Twitter?  And how has it worked for you?