What's the Role of Social Media in Health Care?

Paul Levy, Former CEO and President, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Blogger, Not Running a Hospital, Author, GoalPlay! Leadership Lessons from the Soccer Field

Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:

  • Explain how social media can be both a valuable tool for clinicians.
  • Discuss how social media can help patients and clinicians connect about health and health care.
  • Identify at least two risks of using social media as a health care professional.
  • Discuss how Paul Levy used his blog as a transparency tool within the hospital he led in Boston.

Description: Paul Levy, the former CEO and President of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, writes a blog called Not Running a Hospital that gets about 10,000 visitors every day. In this two-part video series, we learn how Levy got involved in blogging, how his blog promoted transparency at his hospital, and tips for success in social media. 

In part one, Paul Levy tells us how he got involved in blogging, speaks to the dangers of social media, and offers five tips for success for anyone in health care.

Before hearing what he has to say, what do you think?

  1. How and why do you use social media in your professional life?
  2. What value do you think social media can bring to clinicians and health care?
  3. Who, in your experience and opinion, is making good use of social media in health care today?
  4. Why might it be important for health care professionals to be careful when using social media? What could be the dangers?

In part two, Paul Levy shares why he started running a blog as the CEO of a large teaching hospital in Boston. His blog celebrated staff accomplishments, shared real-time data, and explained what happened in a wrong-site surgery case. Paul tells us how his writing started to change the hospital culture — and put transparency in the spotlight. 

 Discussion Questions:​

  1. As a health care leader, how do you think keeping a blog could be useful? How could it be useful to you, your organization, and your readership?
  2. Several hospitals have started to live-tweet during surgeries in the past few years. What do you think about this? Is it beneficial? Is it appropriate? 
  3. Paul Levy mentioned he posted information about a wrong-site surgery on his blog because he felt “there were lessons for other hospitals to learn from this, as well.” If you were the CEO of a hospital where a wrong-site surgery occurred, would you immediately share the information with the public? Why or why not? 
  4. Go to the following link and take a look at “The message you hope never to send”: http://runningahospital.blogspot.com/2008/07/message-you-hope-never-to-send.html. What is your reaction to this blog post?
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