Last month members of the Experience Innovation Network gathered to discuss the role of social media in helping to manage and improve the patient experience. Few health systems have adopted a robust social media strategy because it gives patients and families a public forum to air their grievances about disappointing patient experiences. It’s time for that to change. With 85 percent of all US adults using the Internet, and 72 percent of those engaging with social media, it’s clear that this communication platform is here to stay.
[i]Ardent Health Services has developed a clear strategy for how to respond to social media feedback. The organization has assigned two key leaders to ensure that its proactive and reactive social media engagement builds loyalty and trust among members of the community it serves. First, Bryan Yarbrough, Manager, Web, Mobile & Social Media Marketing manages the overall strategy, including sharing topic-based health information, highlighting physicians, events, and awards, and collaborating with champions in each of Ardent’s facilities. Bryan monitors activity and data across Ardent’s more than 70 social media assets, including Facebook pages, YouTube channels, LinkedIn groups, Twitter handles, blogs, and Google+ groups.
Second, Social Media Coordinator Amanda Armstrong helps to link the virtual world to the real world by monitoring and responding to issues that arise via social media. This requires a lot more than canned responses. Ardent has devised a categorization and escalation framework that helps direct different kinds of posts and comments to different resources:
This approach enables Amanda to focus in on the posts from patients and families in a way that clearly assures posters that their voices are being heard and that connects them to local resources that can address their concerns.
Ardent has resolved billing concerns, discharge difficulties, and immediate patient needs for help via social media. Left unheeded, any of these could have created negative word-of-mouth and exacerbated patient and family challenges. Instead, with adept and genuine responsiveness, Ardent showed that it cares about the patients and families it serves.
[i] Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project Spring Tracking Survey, April 17 – May 19, 2013.