Launching the Mayo Clinic Health Policy Blog

In my work for Mayo Clinic, my major responsibilities are for our Mayo Clinic Medical Edge syndicated news products and for leadership of our social media team. Last week I wrote about our Mayo Clinic fan page in Facebook, which has been successful so far. After a low-key start, we’ve seen strong growth in our number of fans, with 376 as of this writing, and have also had some gratifying wall posts. Check out our page here.

Now we’re starting our first major blogging initiative, as part of our Mayo Clinic National Symposium on Health Care Reform, which will be held next week in Leesburg, Va. You can read about it here.

I hope regular readers of this blog also will check out the Mayo Clinic Health Policy Blog, and will participate in the discussion. While we had a low-key start with the Facebook fan page, I expect the Health Policy blog to get active much more quickly. With live streaming of the general sessions, with a high-profile keynote speaker and moderator in Tom Brokaw and with the work that has gone into developing a first-rate program, hopefully the blog will have high visibility.

I’m planning to connect with bloggers who write about health policy, health reform, health insurance, health care quality and related issues. We also will be linking the blog from the symposium site starting next Monday, so people can watch the streaming live (or archived) video and share their ideas.

You can subscribe here to RSS updates from the symposium blog, or click here to sign up for e-mail updates.

What other suggestions do you have? How can we most effectively engage people in this health reform discussion, so we can begin to build the consensus for effective health reform?

Mayo Clinic Facebook Page Highlighted

I was interviewed earlier this month for an article in 1to1 Media about Mayo Clinic’s Facebook page. Here’s an excerpt:

Like any Facebook user, the Mayo Clinic’s page allows the not-for-profit organization to post information about itself, link to its three websites (for patients, consumers, and research and education), display “wall post” messages and photos, offer video and audio podcasts, provide updates on news and events, and connect with friends. Beyond that, Aase says, “what we really hope to have it be is all about people telling their own stories—describing what their experience was like here and connecting in that way.”

The opportunity for patients to directly tell their stories online is an important word-of-mouth component for Mayo Clinic. “Social networking sites like Facebook are one means by which people stay in touch and share experiences,” says Ed Keller, CEO of the word-of-mouth research and consulting firm Keller Fay Group. “Allowing people to express themselves—telling their stories in their own voice to their friends, family, and other members of their social network—is proving to be a powerful way for brands and organizations to join the consumer conversation and to help improve their own brand position as a result.” Consumer self-expression brings authenticity and impact, Keller adds. “If consumers are happy with their experience with the Mayo Clinic, and they tell others, it will undoubtedly help Mayo to grow its reputation and market presence.”

That’s certainly Aase’s hope. “When [patients] are telling their stories, their friends will see that and may be likely to check [us] out,” he says. “That’s like the word of mouth that happens over the back fence.”

Check out the rest of the article here, and thanks to Jason Alba at FacebookAdvice.com for his favorable review.

Update: The Rochester Post-Bulletin picked up this blog alert and published a story today.