One of the cool things about #hcsm is that there are few barriers to entry. No matter where you are in the world, you can have a conversation about healthcare. You don’t have to have a fancy title, X number of years of experience, or work for a certain organization to make a difference. We’re huge advocates for lowering the barriers, bashing up silos, and bringing everyone to the table with diverse and varied perspectives to improve healthcare for the better. That’s what it takes.
However, we also know that there are benefits to curating location-based information and networks. It’s nice to surround yourself physically by like-minded folks who are working to make a difference next door.
When #hcsm was created in January 2009, we knew we were one of the first healthcare chats on Twitter. We don’t claim to know the future, and we were thrilled when #hcsm took off and became it’s own community online – above and beyond a hashtag or a mere chat. And we were ecstatic when our colleagues in the EU decided to create the first location-based #hcsm chapter, #hcsmEU. With their hard work, they demonstrated the power of location-based mini-chapters (or geo-chapters). The EU, with numerous languages and a variety of different health care cultures, has it’s own unique challenges. So, geo-chapters such as #hcsmEUFR (France) have evolved to address specific issues and opportunities in those locations.
Geo-chapters have continued to spring up across the U.S. as well, bringing folks together offline and “IRL” to socialize and curate local resources. From #hcsmDC (Washington, D.C.) to #hcsmSV (Silicon Valley), #hcsm geo-chapters are continuing to spread. Today a #hcsmAR (Arkansas, mostly Little Rock) meetup was launched.
In sum, we’re excited to see the #hcsm conversation continue offline and in the ‘real world’. It takes our hard work not only on Sunday nights, but also every day to make #hcsm a reality and to improve healthcare around the world. If you have a group of folks working in healthcare communications and/or social media & want to start a geo-chapter for meetups, let me know. We’ll help you get started.