Yesterday morning, I had the great opportunity to attend the State of the Art of New Media in Health Care: Harnessing the Power of Digital Communication and Social Networking Tools conference held at the Newseum in downtown Washington, DC. The event was put on by Amplify Public Affairs, a “next generation in public affairs” firm integrating new media and traditional communications. Now of course the theme of this meeting is right up the alley of what gets covered on Pulse and Signal, so I was definitely happy to be able to attend. The question of how is new media affecting the health care world is popping up more and more, especially with the advent of Google Health, Microsoft’s Health Vault and the various online health social networks. I was eager to hear exactly what the panelists would be talking about - hopefully not just about their companies but to add some real thought to this growing landscape. Here were the people that spoke on the panel (in order of speaking):
» Elisabeth Goodridge, US News & World Report
» Joel Selzer, Ozmosis
» Matt Koll, Revolution Health
» Christopher Fleming, Health Affairs blog
» Ed Fishel, University of Maryland, News Bureau
Below I will touch upon some notes I took while listening to each presenter:
Elisabeth touched on a few items that showed how US News & World Report evolved from just a print publication to one that has integrated several elements of digital media including a list of affiliated bloggers, video, shareable articles and an upcoming widget library with embeddable content. I think one of the last times that I took a good hard look at what the publication could offer, it was when I was selecting colleges to attend. They also have a list of Best Hospitals that is very useful.
Joel has created a very interesting social networking platform for physicians, these include licensed MDs and DOs. A few reasons in which Joel created Ozmosis was because of the steadily increasing patient load for doctors (less time for them to interact with the patient), physicians having little time to find the answers for detailed patient questions and the fact that many physicians were turning to the Internet to locate information - trusted information is the top priority.
Matt spoke about how Revolution Health is transforming how social media is used in the consumer healthcare world. They also own CarePages and HealthTalk - both being focused on community health support. I felt that there was heavy discussion on advertising and business models, so I’m assuming that is where the organization is at this point in their growth. I’m looking forward to see what else comes from Revolution Health in the future.
Christopher also spoke from a once print only publication point of view. The Health Affairs journal, which recently celebrated its 25th year of being in print, has taken steps to embrace social media within its content production. The journal’s blog includes staff and guest bloggers. The staff members generally write about articles already printed in the journal while the guest bloggers create shorter, more advocacy based articles that usually correlate to a health policy issue. As the blog began expanding policy discussions to different areas, it helped to attract readers to the actual journal material. Currently, Chris and the Health Affairs team are looking to increase staff to assist in the growing and maintenance of the blog.
Finally, Ed touched on the changes involved in moving from old media and journalism to adopting new methods of disseminating news and information. I think that this will be an ongoing discussion (and struggle) for some time. Many people still do not see the value of this change in the media landscape but it’s good to know that there are a handful of people in certain professions willing to lead the charge.
Overall, I had a great time and picked up on a few thoughts regarding what exactly might need to be done regarding health communication efforts. It was nice hearing the various voices from different industries speak on what they are accomplishing - I really think that the aspects of Health 2.0 that were presented will be one of many to shape the way we stay healthy.