Health Care and the Visibility-Value Continuum

Bryan Vartabedian MD
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Using live streaming video in social media when conducting a surgery can help patient to find donor.

Last evening I followed a live Twitter event that Baylor Scott and White Health conducted around a heart transplant. You can see the stream at #HeartTXLive.

Rethinking live events in health care

While I’ve not been a fan of live Twitter events, this one made me think. Social health events once conceived in dry, 3rd person narrative have evolved. High def images render in a way that can made the operative experience pop. In-line video right in my Twitter stream brought the action to life. A nicely designed 3-step infographic call for donors was an important message. I would like to have seen some tighter surgical field shots. A connection with Dr. Gonzalez might have added an interesting element.

For some, the important question about Twitter events is: When does an educational event cross over into a traffic event? For a health professional, live Twitter coverage of a procedure may be seen as a media opportunity. For those who have never seen inside of an OR have no understanding what goes into a heart transplant, it may be seen differently.

Does our intent lie in visibility or value?

Anything we make and push into the world can be done with the intent of being visible or adding value. Simple visibility, or just being there, is the standard. Most hospitals are pretty good at rehashing what’s been comfortably done. A steady stream of pool safety posts and healthy recipes do the job of creating that safe sweet spot of content mediocrity. But health organizations create value by offering something unique or beautifully conceived that moves the mind of the consuming patient. The value is at the edges, as was once suggested by John Seely Brown and John Hagel.

Institutional visibility is often the goal in these events. But when it can be genuinely skewed toward value (education, public awareness, dialog) it approximates the kind of balance that makes it worth considering. And as organizations move on the continuum from simple visibility to value they move from marketing to leadership. We should see our efforts on a visibility-value continuum.

Leveraging new tools for leadership and public good

As medical professionals it may be helpful to rethink and reshape the concept of live tweeting. What started as real-time narration in 140 characters can and should evolve as a multi-media, multichannel event that leverages the new tools at our disposal. I can see something experientially broader and deeper. Social technology has evolved such that events like a heart transplant can serve so many more than the graft recipient.

Health care institutions must begin to see their daily processes as something of a gift that can be translated for the broader good. Imagine taking what we know, understand and do and pushing it into the world where it can be tagged, searched, and seen. That’s where value and opportunity meet.

While some may have dismissed the value of an event such as Baylor Scott & White Health hosted last evening, I believe we need to rethink what’s possible.

Congratulations to Ashley Howland and the comms team at Baylor Scott and White for a great event.

Health Care and the Visibility-Value Continuum