The MayoClinic has been in the forefront of social media ever since it began podcasting in 2005. It launched a Facebook page in 2007 and it has been on Twitter since 2008, the same year it began blogging.
It began using social media for media relations, according to Lee Asae, director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. "Social media has opened up communication and made communication flatter because people are able to communicate directly and to ask questions," Aase told InformationWeek Healthcare. "We are also able to share information on the Web that doesn't have to be on the Today Show or in the New York Times. It enables us to have much more in-depth information sharing and conversations with patients who may have an unusual condition that the mainstream media aren't going to cover, at least in any depth," Aase said. He added that through podcasts and YouTube videos, MayoClinic is able to make its expert researchers, scientists, and physicians available directly to people spread out around the country.
The MayoCinic recently finished its fourth installment of what it calls its social media residency, a day-and-a-half course that it provides for people working in healthcare. "It's a mix of internal MayoClinic people and external attendees. [During our last residency] we had 67 participants, a few doctors, some nurses, and people in various rolls throughout the organization," said Aase. He added that it's now becoming a basic requirement for hospitals to be involved in social media.