Posted by & filed under Quality Forum 2012.

Opening Keynote

Healthcare 2.0: Social Media Camp kicked off early Wednesday morning with opening remarks from BCPSQC Executive Director Christina Krause and Ajay Puri, the Council’s Quality Leader, Communications and Engagement. Over 150 attendees were encouraged to tweet throughout the day about what they learned, interesting facts or great quotes from our speakers…and tweet they did!

 Social Media Camp Achievements

  1. To our knowledge, Social Media Camp was one of Canada’s most live-tweeted, and largest attended, health and social media events.
  2. The event’s official Twitter hashtag, #SocialMediaCamp, trended in Canada in the morning. In total, more than 170 people tweeted 1220 times!
  3. The event had people tweeting from Ontario, Kansas and even New Zealand.

Pat Rich, Director & Editor-in-Chief Online Content for the Canadian Medical Association, delivered the day’s opening keynote by pointing out that Social Media Camp was one of the first conferences in Canada to focus on social media in health care. He began by describing the CMA’s social media guidelines and encouraging doctors to take advantage of the many benefits social media can provide them, such as staying up-to-date with health news, correcting erroneous information, exchanging information with peers and moderating discussions. Only about 20 per cent of Canadian doctors are doing so, however, mainly due to lack of time, minimal knowledge of social media and privacy concerns. That number is rising as more young, social-media savvy doctors enter the profession.


In addition, regulators across Canada are very inconsistent in how they advise doctors on using social media (from not at all to with extreme caution). One of main reasons for this is patient privacy, which was an important topic of Pat’s keynote. If a doctor does use social media, Pat instructed, he or she must take extreme care not to reveal a patient’s personal information.

Click here to read “6 Reasons a Doctor Should Consider Using Social Media” – a blog post inspired by Pat’s keynote.

Pat also listed some social media “champion” physicians, including doctors Kevin Pho, Allan Brookstone, Brian Goldman, Michael Evans and Anne Marie Cunningham. He also recommended following ePatient champions like Dave deBronkart and Regina Halliday.

Panel Discussion

Next, as hotel staff brought in more chairs to accommodate everyone in attendance, Vancouver Sun health reporter Pamela Fayerman moderated the day’s panel discussion. Pat was joined on the panel by David Hume, Executive Director of Citizen Engagement for the Government of British Columbia, and Katherine Dodds, the Founder & Creative Director of Hello Cool World.

The panel shared many fascinating insights. Pamela said she is sometimes surprised at how much personal information people share with her in interviews and Pat urged communications professionals not to use social media as one-way, impersonal communication. David advised that you should use the right social media tool for each target audience you’d like to reach and Katherine noted that when measuring a social media campaign’s success, one should look at qualitative matters (such as stories) in addition to statistics.

Questions from the audience generated much discussion from the panelists, with common themes being the hidden costs of social media, technological literacy, and measuring social media success.

The panel wrapped up with Pamela asking the three experts for their closing thoughts in under 140 characters.

Katherine: “Audience first.”
David: “Participants first.”
Pat: “Consider your goals and use social media strategically.”

What else stood out for you? Let us know by posting a comment below!

Closing Keynote

With Social Media Camp’s three sessions in the books, it was time for the day’s closing keynote, delivered by Vancouver City Councillor Andrea Reimer. Andrea focused on the city’s public engagement efforts. By using social media tools to solicit feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including citizens themselves, the city was able to shape its 10-year action plan and base it on the community’s needs and opinions.

When Andrea was first elected to council in 2008, many employees were not using Facebook. In fact, many did not really know what Facebook was, let alone why they and the city should use it. This became apparent when Andrea started a Facebook group to solicit feedback on the newly-elected council’s green city campaign. Some employees wondered what would happen if many citizens started posting on the group’s wall – while Andrea worried about no one commenting!

The city also created a new website ( where it posted citizens’ ideas about making Vancouver the greenest city in the world and encouraged Vancouverites to vote on their favourites. In 18 months, more than 35,000 people were engaged and city council used the feedback to create a 10-year action plan. In addition, now over 50,000 employees are engaged in the city’s social media efforts.

Andrea also took questions from the audience, and recommended that organizations release as much data as often as possible because the public cannot be engaged if it is not on the same information level as the organization trying to engage it. She also said that tolerating ambiguity and challenging authority is part of the challenge of navigating turbulent times, a point very well received by the audience. All told, Andrea’s presentation style, experience and message combined to form the perfect end to Social Media Camp.

How do you think social media can be better leveraged for use in health care? How can health care learn from the City of Vancouver engaging the public using social media? Let us know by posting a comment below!