News: Mayo Clinic Shares Lessons Learned and Promotes Social Media in Healthcare

News: Mayo Clinic Shares Lessons Learned and Promotes Social Media in Healthcare

Mayo Clinic is committed to catalyzing the broad use of social media—by organizations, clinicians, administrators, patients, families, and advocates—to improve healthcare. Mayo Clinic was an early adopter; it now wants to share what it has learned and support people in all roles related to healthcare to become more active, articulate, and effective in their use of social media.

Like many other healthcare organizations, Mayo Clinic first used social media to further its press relations and marketing efforts. It established the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media (MCCSM) in July 2010 to apply that expertise more broadly to the delivery of healthcare. In a video that describes membership options, MCCSM Director Lee Aase says Mayo wants to use social media “to do healthcare better.”

Social Media Health Network

Healthcare organizations and individuals trying to decide how to begin as well as those wishing to maximize their use of social media can access information and tools on MCCSM’s website (

Some information and materials on the website are available for free. Members of Mayo’s Social Media Health Network (SMHN), which offers memberships for individuals and organizations, can participate in a wide range of training programs and resources, including blogs, webinars, videos, as well as social media “residency” and “fellows” programs. Viewers who would like to sample materials available to members may register for a free “guest account.”

Health Care Social Media List

MCCSM hosts a list of healthcare organizations across the United States that use social media actively and maintain officially sponsored accounts on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other sites. The list was started by Ed Bennett, who developed the list on his blog, Found In Cache, as a crowdsourced resource. Bennett is director of web strategy for the University of Maryland Medical Center and serves on MCCSM’s External Advisory Board. MCCSM assumed responsibility for the list, which is now called the Health Care Social Media List (, in 2012. MCCSM updates the list with information contributed proactively by representatives of healthcare organizations by using a form available online ( In the future, the list will reflect the global nature of social media and no longer be limited to organizations in the United States.

A sample video* from the Social Medical Residency curriculum provides an introduction to the philosophy and style of the MCCSM. In it, the center’s medical director, Farris Timimi, MD, discusses “Health Care Social Media and Professionalism.” Timimi says that social media are an important extension of everyday communication and knowledge sharing. The rules that should apply to all personal and professional interactions also apply online. Timimi says that the top three professional violations in medicine—inappropriate patient communication, inappropriate prescribing, and misrepresentation of credentials—are the top three online or offline. Although social media may disseminate these transgressions faster and more widely than previously possible, they don’t cause these problems, which have been the top three violations for decades.

In addition to information and guidance, the MCCSM offers a connection to the wide community of people and organizations working to make sure they include social media among the tools they are using to improve healthcare.

*Accessed November 11, 2014, via