Social networking services gain acceptance by healthcare organizations

Late last April, during the A/H1N1 influenza outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began using a social networking service called Twitter as a way to provide instant updates on H1N1 cases and developments. By the middle of May, more than 130,000 Twitter users were signed up to receive these updates!

If social networking is not on your clinical laboratory’s radar screen yet, it will soon be. The CDC’s use of Twitter as a valuable resource to instantly communicate news about the H1N1 influenza outbreak demonstrates how people, companies, and government agencies are rapidly finding useful ways to use social networking Web services.

Twitter is a simple concept. Wikipedia defines Twitter as a “free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters, displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers).” In the pathology profession, pathologist Bruce Friedman, M.D.—known for his blog Lab Soft News has been “tweeting” for over a year. @LabSoftNews & @Dark_Daily

Probably the best known social networking Web sites in the United States are Facebook and MySpace. For business, LinkedIn has become popular. Nexopia is big in Canada. In Europe, such sites as Bebo, Hi5, and Skyrock have high traffic. For South America, it is social networking Web sites such as Orkut and Hi5.

Why is social networking a trend worthy of the attention of clinical laboratory managers and pathologists? There are several answers to that question. First, social networking is an effective channel to distribute news and updates about unfolding events to a global audience in real time! Second, social networking is a way that medical laboratories, pathology groups, hospitals, and other organizations can communicate instantly with individuals who have joined their particular network—often their most loyal customers and supporters. Third, these social networks allow two-way interaction with members of the network. For clinical laboratories, this creates the opportunity for regular and immediate feedback by customers and clients—always a benefit for the laboratory that wants to meet and exceed the expectations of its users.

If your clinical laboratory, pathology group, or hospital is tweeting, Dark Daily would like to hear from you. We are interested in learning how you use it and how it benefits your organization. Please use the link below and respond to our Dark Daily editor Robert Michel (email: rmichel@darkreport.com) with your comments or simply leave a post (below) on this ebriefing.

Meanwhile, you can follow Dark Daily on twitter. Go to http://twitter.com/Dark_Daily (@Dark_Daily) to receive tweets from Dark Daily and stay up to date with all our Laboratory News Alerts. And let your friends and co-workers know how they can become part of the Dark Daily social network on Twitter!

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Related Information:

Hospitals Used New Communication Tools During Swine Flu Scare

Florida Hospital Announces Use of Twitter to Deliver Fast and Accurate Health Care News During Swine Flu Outbreak

Social Networking Service Defined on Wikipedia 

Twitter Defined on Wikipedia