How Social Networking is Changing the Business of Healthcare

By Joel Selzer posted 02-18-2011 13:24


The Harvard Business Review recently featured a post from Bill George, a Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, where he states, “Social networking is the most significant business development of 2010, topping the resurgence of the U.S. automobile industry.”  As Bill points out, social networking took a transcendent leap forward in 2010 as it morphed from a "personal communications tool for young people into a new vehicle that business leaders are using to transform communications with their employees and customers". 

Social networking is also flattening organizations by distributing access to key information.  Today, millions of businesses share information effortlessly through more than 200 million accounts on Twitter and the million plus company pages on Facebook. In a pure enterprise sense, new entrants are flooding the market with social tools designed for exclusive use within a companies four walls.  The drive to make business social has even captured the imagination of industry heavyweights like IBM, which is betting big on social business.  IBM announced at their recent Lotusphere Conference that social business represents a transformational opportunity and $100 billion market.  Their conference theme, "Get Social. Do Business", says it all.

The repurcussions for healthcare organizations, from hospitals to life science firms, are enormous. With the growing adoption of electronic health records, explosion of mobile device use among clinicians and the rise of the social enterprise; healthcare staff and clinicians expect instant access to information. They see how easy it is to share a photo or a link on Facebook and still wonder why similar tools haven't been integrated directly into their clinical workflow and enterprise systems. 

As the commerical world goes social, the business of healthcare won't be far behind.  Social tools can be leveraged to improve coordination of care among healthcare professionals, streamline the development of clinical content, enable distributed research teams to accelerate drug discovery, enhance customer service between health insurers and their members and advance learning and continuing medical education within the workplace. 

These are but a few of the examples we see emerging every day and the clinical use cases keep expanding.  There is little doubt the world of social collaboration and healthcare is poised for its own breakout year.  To see the impact first hand, join us at the 2nd annual New Media Meetup taking place at HIMSS11 in Orlando next week. 

Joel Selzer, CEO at Ozmosis, Inc.

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