Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic has launched a Center for Social Media, which aims to increase use of social media throughout the organization and encourage other hospitals to connect physicians and patients through tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports (May Yee, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 7/27).
Although the number of hospital Twitter accounts has doubled across the past year, the health care industry continues to lag behind other industries in its use of social media tools (Mayo release, 7/27).
Ed Bennett -- director of Web strategy at the University of Maryland Medical System -- said that only 15% to 20% of the nation's 5,000 hospitals use social media (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 7/27).
Mayo currently runs the most popular YouTube channel among medical providers, is tracked on Twitter by roughly 60,000 followers and connects with more than 20,000 users via Facebook (Mayo release, 7/27).
Mayo hopes the new center will leverage its social media experience to spur interest among the broader health care community (Carlson, Modern Healthcare, 7/27).
Mayo officials also expect to use the center to target other health care provider groups (Hobson, "Health Blog," Wall Street Journal, 7/27).
Some of the programs to be offered by the social media center will include:
- Training for employees using social media;
- Consulting services to help organizations align social media initiatives with business strategies; and
- Conferences and events to discuss social media strategies (Mayo release, 7/27).
The center is expected to employ eight individuals and receive $800,000 annually in initial funding (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 7/27).