Episode #73 – The Democratization of Healthcare through Social Media with Colin Hung

Colleagues & Friends,

This is, by far, the best discussion I’ve ever had about the value of social media in transforming healthcare. In a time in which we are constantly being reminded in the news about the downsides of social media, this episode highlights the humanizing and democratizing aspects of social media, with platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn.

Our guest today is Colin Hung. Colin is a healthcare IT professional turned healthcare marketing executive, turned social media guru. His career has been dedicated to using digital technologies, social media platforms and community organizing to improve healthcare. Over the last decade, he has helped numerous companies build and market solutions that improve patient safety, patient-provider communications and the patient experience. Colin has also co-founded one of the most popular healthcare Twitter communities – #hcldr – which brings together patients, clinicians, healthcare administrators and leaders as well as policy & governmental influencers. He has been selected as a HIMSS (Health Information & Management Systems Society) Social Media Ambassador three times and is internationally recognized as one of the top HealthIT Social Media Influencers. His work has been published in medical journals and he writes regularly for Healthcare IT Today and HITMC (Healthcare IT & Marketing Community).

In this interview we’ll discuss:

  • Colin’s discoveries regarding the benefits of social media – from being a source of expert information, to a platform for sharing diverse perspectives, to a powerful form of community building.
  • Colin’s views on social media as a vehicle for humanizing & democratizing healthcare – for both patients and providers.
  • The connecting and community organizing phenomena of Twitter chats, particularly the #hcldr twitter chat that Colin and his colleagues hold weekly.
  • How organizations such as the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic are using social media to create clinically-informed, patient-led, open forum communities.

Colin’s understanding of healthcare social media is profound. Although he is an expert in information technology, healthcare marketing and social media, his focus is on the importance and value of connecting – connecting people, connecting ideas, connecting streams of work – and creating synergies through those connections. His work aims to empower and enable the professional development of those attempting to improve, innovate and transform healthcare. His desire is to create empathy. And although these connections and communities lead to concrete progress in the realm of product design and business development, he also sees the inherent value of human connectivity as being a primary goal, in and of itself.

Colin is a remarkable ‘servant leader’ – a guide and mentor who is focused on helping others advance in their personal and professional journeys. The one trait that he emphasizes as being critical to participation in social media is “being open to being changed by the conversations and communities you connect with online”.  It’s a lesson in humility, diversity and acceptance. The world of social media allows us to go beyond the confines of our limited, and limiting, social and professional circles. It empowers us with information, expertise and divergent perspectives that we would otherwise not be exposed to. It releases us from the isolation and insularity that we can experience in our day-to-day lives.

My call to action is for you to engage on a social media platform, if you haven’t already. Try just one Tweet or one LinkedIn message this week!  Or, if you’re more adventurous, please join a tweet chat like the #hcldr that Colin introduces us to in this interview. It’s at 8:30 PM EST every Tuesday night. Hope to see you there!

Until next time, be well.

Zeev Neuwirth, MD