Sunday, December 11, 2011

Give the people what they want! I'm experimenting with social media

I had the privilege to act as host for some of the Saskatchewan participants at last week's IHI National Forum.  As the organizers planned the trip, we discussed ways to communicate with each other while at the conference.  It's a huge venue with over 5000 attendees, so keeping in touch can be challenging.

We decided to try Twitter.  I was a little nervous as I had never tweeted before.  As you can see by the newly-added Twitter feed in the right column of this blog, I've become a convert.

Not everyone signed up for Twitter, but those who did found it very useful.  We were able to arrange impromptu meetings and share pearls from the sessions we attended.  We also made a fortuitous contact with Paul Levy.

You may be familiar with Paul Levy through his blog "Not Running a Hospital" (formerly "Running a Hospital").  As CEO (now retired) of Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, Levy pioneered transparency by blogging about his hospital's complication rates.  He noticed that Sask IHI attendees were actively tweeting (hashtag #saskihi11) and tweeted his way to joining us for dinner.

It was a terrific opportunity to meet someone who has been a leader in using social media in health care.  As it turned out, Levy was IHI's social media guru-at-large, and conducted several well-attended sessions on using Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

His recommendations for bloggers got my attention: 300 words 3 times a week.  Levy suggested that frequent, shorter blog posts were more palatable for readers than infrequent, longer pieces (my usual style...).

Here's my next social media experiment: I would like you to tell me which form you prefer.  In the right hand column, I'll post a survey that will stay up for the next few days.  If there seems to be interest in more frequent posts, I'll do my best to change things up for several weeks, then repeat the survey.

Thanks for your help, and thanks for taking time to read this blog!


  1. Good morning Dr. Visvanathan,

    As one who infrequently visits blogs in general, I prefer the longer-more-thorough blogs. I am particularly interested in the content if I can use it as a reference in the future. Timeliness applies to rapidly changing events but every knows the health system is not a rapidly chaninging system!
    Even with Paul Levy's blog, I do not have the time to check it on a regular basis, but the posts that are particularly relevant to me work there way through the Social world and I end up reading them at my leisure - which is precisely when I am more likely to consider implementing change.

  2. Kishore you are my QI hero and I look forward to reading your blogs but I also read many other posts/articles/white papers/blogs etc. so shorter more frequent would put me into even more serious multi-tasking mode which is apparently bad for the brain and for productivity in the workplace. I don't care what you're doing every day, but I really care about what you are learning - straight up Q2weeks is good for me!

  3. I like the longer blogs too. You take the time to tell the story, why, what you did and how it's going. That's what provides value for me. I don't think in 300 word blocks...

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