ROCHESTER, Minn.—Mayo Clinic today announced the creation of a Center     for Social Media to accelerate effective application of social media     tools throughout Mayo Clinic and to spur broader and deeper engagement     in social media by hospitals, medical professionals and patients to     improve health globally.

“Mayo Clinic believes individuals have the right and responsibility to     advocate for their own health, and that it is our responsibility to help     them use social media tools to get the best information, connect with     providers and with each other, and inspire healthy choices,” explains     Mayo Clinic president and CEO John Noseworthy, M.D. “Through this center     we intend to lead the health care community in applying these     revolutionary tools to spread knowledge and encourage collaboration     among providers, improving health care quality everywhere.”

Some of the services provided by the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media     will be:

  • Training for health care employees through webinars, in-person       and on-site workshops and boot camps, and an online curriculum for       self-paced learning and review.
  • Consulting and coaching to help organizations align social       media strategies with business goals, as well as advising on planning       and conducting outcomes research.
  • Conferences and other events that bring people together to       learn from Mayo’s experience and from each other. The second Mayo       Clinic/Ragan Communications Social Media Summit, to be held Sept.      27-29, 2010 on the Mayo Clinic campus in Jacksonville, Fla., is an       example of this kind of event.
  • Resources, including toolkits, manuals, books, white papers,      policies and guidelines.

The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, a first-of-its-kind social     media center focused on health care, builds on Mayo Clinic’s leadership     among health care providers in adopting social media tools. Mayo Clinic     has the     most popular medical provider channel on YouTube and more than 60,000     “followers” on Twitter, as well as an active     Facebook page with well over 20,000 connections. With its News     Blog, podcast     blog and Sharing     Mayo Clinic, a blog that enables patients and employees to tell     their Mayo Clinic stories, Mayo has been a pioneer in hospital blogging., Mayo’s consumer health information site, also hosts a     dozen blogs on topics ranging from Alzheimer’s to The     Mayo Clinic Diet.

“Health care has lagged behind other industries in applying social media     tools,” says Lee Aase, one of the leaders of the new center. “Social     media interest and activity among hospitals and health care     professionals has grown remarkably, though, with the number of hospital     Twitter accounts, for example, doubling in the last year. Still,      according to Ed Bennett’s Hospital     Social Networking List, only 762 of the more than 5,000 hospitals in     the U.S. have some social networking presence. Mayo Clinic, which has     been on FORTUNE     Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work For List for seven consecutive     years, has been actively using social media tools to engage employees in     its business strategies, manage change and share company news. Employees     can comment on strategic efforts, ask leaders questions and share their     ideas.

“Staff at many hospitals wanting to get involved in social media have     pointed to Mayo Clinic’s activity and experience to help make the case     for engagement with their senior leaders,” says Victor     Montori, M.D., a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and the center’s     interim medical director. “Some have even consulted with us informally     and asked for advice on implementation. One of our goals for the center     is to provide a mechanism for this consultation and sharing, so we can     help colleagues in health care everywhere break down the barriers to     involvement.”

In addition to reaching out, the center staff will work with Mayo Clinic     colleagues to find new and innovative ways to apply social media tools     throughout the Mayo system. “We see immense opportunities to use     internal social networking tools for collaboration among our employees     to improve patient care, education, research and administration,” Aase     explains. “As we find new applications, we plan to conduct research into     their effects so we can measure any cost savings, efficiency gains and     improved effectiveness. And when we do, we’ll be sharing those findings     externally to help the whole health system improve.”

“While hospitals and health care workers will likely be our main focus     for these services externally, we also expect to help health-related     nonprofits, professional organizations and patient associations,” says     Dr. Montori. “We want Mayo Clinic to be the authentic voice for patients     and medical providers, and also to provide platforms where their voices     can be heard.”

An advisory team with representatives from throughout Mayo Clinic and an     external board of thought leaders will help center leadership identify     and provide resources for the most relevant projects. A related     international network organized by the center will gather broader input     from the health care community and disseminate resources and research     findings.

“The social     media revolution is vastly expanding the reach of word-of-mouth,”      Aase says. The center will accelerate adoption of social media in health     care, first at Mayo and then within health care. Through this work, Mayo     Clinic looks to help improve health care literacy, health care delivery     and population health worldwide.”

Further details will be announced at the Mayo Clinic/Ragan     Communications Social Media Summit in September. For more information     about the center, visit its Web site at

About Mayo Clinic
For more than 100 years, millions of     people from all walks of life have found answers at Mayo Clinic. These     patients tell us they leave Mayo Clinic with peace of mind knowing they     received care from the world’s leading experts. Mayo Clinic is the first     and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. At     Mayo Clinic, a team of specialists is assembled to take the time to     listen, understand and care for patients’ health issues and concerns.      These teams draw from more than 3,700 physicians and scientists and     50,100 allied staff that work at Mayo Clinic’s campuses in Minnesota,      Florida, and Arizona; and community-based providers in more than 70     locations in southern Minnesota, western Wisconsin and northeast Iowa.      These locations treat more than half a million people each year. To best     serve patients, Mayo Clinic works with many insurance companies, does     not require a physician referral in most cases and is an in-network     provider for millions of people. To obtain the latest news releases from     Mayo Clinic, go to      For information about research and education, visit (      is available as a resource for your general health information.

Mayo Clinic
Traci Klein
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