Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Designing social media impact; a challenge for healthcare improvers

Social media is the in thing in healthcare organisations - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. These systems have been around for 5 years or more but are now catching on in healthcare as they are seen as a method for sharing messages quickly and a way to bring diverse and segregated communities together. And this works well.

The challenge is to integrate the use of social media into the mindset of the quality improver.  The Improvement Model asks three questions - all of which are relevant for social media use:

  1. What are we trying to accomplish?
  2. How will we know its an improvement?
  3. What changes can we make that will result in an improvement?

If you're starting out using, say Twitter, and you're in a healthcare quality improvement role the have a think about:

  • What do you want to achieve? What is your purpose in using Twitter? Do you want to discover new info from others, link to others, use the media as a broadcast system, raise awareness, raise your own profile... etc? You need to have a purpose.
  • How will you know it's an improvement? In the Twitter case, how will you know whether you are reaching your purpose / objectives and in a way that's better than what you do now? It really helps to think about this.  How will you measure your progress? How will you learn? Will you be using an analytics system to learn about what works (classic PDSA processes work very well for understanding how Twitter can work for you).
  • Linked to the measures above, how will you maintain your learning and continue to get better and better at using Twitter?

In my experience it's best to thing through purpose and practice as part of starting on the social media road. An online social media account where nothing happens tends not to be a good strategy.

No comments: