The Power of Storytelling in Healthcare IT

Posted on December 6, 2012 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

While a good majority of the healthcare industry had their industry news pipelines filled with coverage from the mHealth Summit earlier this week, nearly 600 of us in Atlanta were also taking in coverage of the third annual Health IT Leadership Summit, a day-long affair that offered great sessions on a range of topics. Several key themes emerged, based on the #GAHealthIT tweet stream:

  • the value of social media in healthcare, especially in the area of patient education and engagement
  • the need for innovation, and a viable entrepreneurial ecosystem for that innovation to develop
  • the need for better alignment of incentives and
  • the increasingly important roles employers, payers and employees are starting to play in the accountable care conversation.

This was one of the few conferences I, personally, have attended that kicked things off with a patient’s perspective of the state of the healthcare industry. Ross Mason, Founder of Healthcare Institution for Neuro-Recovery and Innovation (HINRI) Ventures and a quadriplegic. Mason is the real deal when it comes to the patient’s perspective. He has a compelling story to tell about the sub-par state of healthcare and he told it well. He pulled back the covers on the educational, emotional and financial helplessness so many patients and their caregivers feel in times of critical care. I highly recommend you check out his story and mission he has created for HINRI here.

Mason was a tough act to follow, but Lee Aase, Director of Social Media at the Mayo Clinic, somehow managed to pull it off. Actually, thinking back on it, there couldn’t have been a better pairing. Both men’s presentations were a testament to the power storytelling can have in transforming healthcare. Aase’s, of course, revolved around stories told via social networking and new media.

I have expressed my enthusiasm for his keynote in previous blogs, and he did not disappoint. He used self-deprecating wit, family pictures, hilarious and at times very dated news footage to tell Mayo Clinic’s social media adoption story. I won’t go so far as to say I’m his biggest fan (I imagine the three darling grandchildren he mentioned in his address vie for that honor), but I did go so far as to have him autograph his book for me. You can find “Bringing the Social Media #Revolution to Health Care” here.

Here are just a few of some of my favorite slides, out of the 138 he shared with us. You can view the complete deck here.

I’ll follow up next week with a more detailed look at the winner of the Intel Innovation Award, which was presented to CardioMEMS at the summit. I was able to take a field trip to their offices, and was amazed at the potential a tiny wireless sensor designed for chronic heart failure patients is likely to have on a number of different areas in the industry.