Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media

Much happening as it relates to social health and medicine (not socialized, just social). Mayo Clinic recently announced the formation of  its own Center for Social Media. The mission is to speed adoption of social tools that lead to better health behaviors and outcomes, both internally within the Mayo system and externally across the country and globe.  No hospital system or institution has done more to harness the possibilities of social than Mayo. They post a range of high quality video content on YouTube (a must-see is the video of the elderly couple playing the piano in the Mayo atrium, which went viral and now boasts over 7 million views); they have nearly 66 K followers on Twitter; their Facebook page has 23 K fans.  Plus they have a News blog, a podcast blog and a Sharing blog where patients, relatives and employees can write about their experiences. And let's not forget their amazing - and free - repository of medical, disease and treatment information for consumers: So Mayo has quite a bit of experience to share. Services they plan to offer through the Center for Social Media include social media training for healthcare employees, consulting and coaching for healthcare organizations, conferences and events, and resources like guidelines and toolkits.

Much of the credit for Mayo's success in this sphere goes to the unstoppable Lee Aase, who is the Manager of Syndication and Social Media for Mayo Clinic and is among the new Center's leaders. By day Lee runs the Mayo social operations and by night he is the august Chancellor of Social Media University Global (SMUG), a free online higher education institution that provides practical, hands-on training in social media for lifelong learners. I had the pleasure of appearing on a panel with Lee last November at Northwestern during Kellogg's annual Healthcare Conference. I had heard of Lee and knew of his rock star status within social media circles but had no idea what a nice person he'd turn out to be. Warm, approachable, engaged. And how could you not like someone who starts a social media talk with Martin Luther and the theses? BTW, Lee has 35 of his own.

One of my favorite physician bloggers, Bryan Vartabedian (@Doctor_V) of 33 Charts, wrote a good blog post about what Mayo's move represents. I particularly liked his point that "health care social media isn't owned by marketing." Right on. Its utility goes so far beyond marketing and advertising and public relations. It is about education, research, care delivery, improved outcomes.

Finally kudos to the upper echelons at Mayo for supporting social media. Others take note.