Tag Archive for twitter

Can online communities help drive completion of intervention programs?

People increasingly understand that they must take an active role in their own health and wellness. The industry, meanwhile, knows that prevention is possibly the greatest means for controlling costs. Intervention programs are one tool being looked at to help achieve both aims.

The challenge is that, while effective, in-person programs in which providers are tasked with helping people lose weight or quit smoking can be expensive and inconvenient. They are also limited to the number of people the provider can actually support, not a scalable scenario. Online programs could be a solution.

So far, trials for such web-based alternatives have been promising, but hampered by low completion rates. One recent study found that about 25 percent of participants in a managed trial abandoned, while more than 65 percent quit the free, open-access online program.

The answer, some suggest, may be in online communities. Such environments permit users to communicate with each other, helping sustain inspiration and motivation, while offering them additional forms of content designed to promote program completion.

In another study, this one at the University of Michigan, they tested that premise with a two-tiered online walking program. One group had access to online community content and support. Nearly 80 percent of this group finished. The second group had no access, with nearly 20 percent fewer completing the program.

Questions remain, including how to pay for developing and managing such communities. Ensuring these communities address and support the many languages that make up today’s patient population is another.

Till next time,

What does it mean for you that people can search your name on Twitter?

When talking about social media, we tend to concentrate on how you can leverage these tools to reach your various limited English proficient (LEP) audiences. But while you’re addressing those issues, bear in mind that those audiences are also using the same tools to talk about you.

Last year, both Google and Bing struck deals with a number of social media sites to include those sites in their real-time search results. The sites include Facebook, FriendFeed, MySpace and others. It also includes Twitter. You once had to use Twitter’s internal search functionality to search. Now, both what you say on Twitter and what others say about you is easily indexed in the results.

Why is this important? It’s important in terms of reputation management. The days of controlling the message are gone. Today, the conversation is global, and while that offers incredible communication opportunities, it also can be potentially damaging. Do a search on yourself here: http://www.bing.com/twitter. See what comes up.

Online reputation management is nothing new for doctors and other health care providers; it has just gotten more complicated. As the tools and means for communicating evolve, new challenges arrive with the new opportunities. Learn what you need to do to manage those challenges.

Good health!


Healthcare translation 140 characters at a time

If your job is communication, it is both an exciting and a confusing time to be alive. Not only have globalization and the Internet changed the makeup of audiences, new tools are rapidly transforming the way we reach those audiences. In healthcare, add to this the ongoing debate about reform and it can be hard to know where to start.

Even if you never Tweeted, you’ve likely heard of Twitter, perhaps even in this blog. An increasingly popular microblogging tool, Twitter has been embraced by legions of people, including companies as diverse as Dell and La Superior (the hole-in-the-wall taqueria near my house).

Twitter recently announced that in addition to English and Japanese, the site will soon be available in French, Italian, German, and Spanish. This is meaningful as these additions account for some of the most active languages online.

It is, of course, too early to tell if the tool will find as large and as rabid an audience among users of these languages as is currently enjoyed among English and Japanese users, but it seems a good bet.

So the question for healthcare is this: How can we leverage Twitter to better communicate with patients? If you don’t have a ready answer, maybe it’s time for a conversation with your language services provider.

Good health!