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Sunsetting #hcsm chat

Many know, at least by sight, the #hcsm hashtag. It stands for healthcare communications & social media. It was the first international healthcare hashtag chat. It was the community that many learned about Twitter chats from; and the community that led to the creation of many other vibrant healthcare hashtag communities (#bcsm, #DSMA, to name a couple – but dozens of others, too).

Where and why and how did #hcsm get started?

The #hcsm community started as a conversation, following conversations Dana had (as a then-college student) on Twitter with healthcare communications professionals working at various organizations. She realized that it would be beneficial for these professionals to connect with each other, in addition to the generous sharing of knowledge these individuals were providing to her.

Many people don’t know that the first “chat” wasn’t even on Twitter! A few people were chatting and decided to schedule time together to chat – and they did so using GChat. But, they liked the idea of making it publicly accessible and “stumble-able” for others to run into it and join the conversation. So they picked the following Sunday night at 8pm CT and decided to use a hashtag to track the dialogue. Dana volunteered to moderate/throw out topics.

The chat began in January of 2009, and continued almost every Sunday night at 8pm CT from then until now. Discussion has ranged around hundreds of topics related to healthcare and social media – such as interactions between patients and providers online; impact of new digital and social media tools to healthcare; and more. Predictions have been made by the community that have come true in practice in terms of impact of SM; others have been wrong or still waiting to be realized. Perspectives have included patients, every type of healthcare provider, and just about every perspective of professional working in all aspects of the healthcare industry. It’s a chat and a community where all have been welcome, following simple rules such as “don’t overly self-promote”, “try to stay on topic”, and “be nice”.

Looking back, and looking forward

The #hcsm community is a vibrant, diverse community. It has the typical community growth cycle, where people discover it, check it out, and stick around for awhile. Some leave, and some newbies stick around long enough to become community “elders”. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. Some people will comment after re-joining the chat that they haven’t been around in “years” or “months” or “weeks”, depending on their perspective. They’ll find some of the same faces, and many new ones. The growing and evolving community means discussion around the topics that intersect with healthcare social media continues to yield interesting insights, and reflects the changing world we live in. Perspectives on a question asked in 2012, when a question of similar vein is asked in 2017, reflects the change in technology; the sophistication of many in using the technology; and the way social media has become woven into our society. Other topics show no change, and is a reflection on the relative slow evolution of healthcare as an industry compared to others. (You can read back on this site for some of the topics I’ve archived here; or otherwise scroll through the @HealthSocMed account on Twitter to see more recent chat topics).

One of the things that has changed is the plethora of available chats, forums, and venues to have discussions around these topics. There were no other chats on Twitter at the time #hcsm began; and there weren’t any other common social media platforms at the time where random strangers could get together and have a discussion, and build relationships. There are now dozens of other healthcare chats every week on Twitter, ranging from general chats that cover any number of topics; and others are specific, such as disease-specific or patient-specific chats. Diversity of perspective, topic, and the ability to “stumble” upon new conversations is no longer a rare thing.

And thus, I have concluded that it is time for the weekly #hcsm chat to begin to sunset at the close of this #hcsm year. After 9 full years, I think it is a good stopping place. I expect the hashtag will live on as a general hashtag; however, I plan to end moderated chats (and end using the @HealthSocMed account) on #hcsm’s 9th birthday: January 14, 2018.

The final chat schedule will be the following:

  • December 10, 2017 (tonight’s chat)
  • December 17, 2017
  • (skipping December 24, 2017 due to Christmas and other holiday celebrations, per usual)
  • (skipping December 31, 2017 due to New Year’s Eve, per usual)
  • January 7, 2018
  • January 14, 2018 – FINAL MODERATED #hcsm chat!

That means that, after the December 10 chat, there are 3 total remaining #hcsm chats for people to join in on!

If you’ve been part of the #hcsm community for any of the 9 years of this amazing community, I hope you’ll pop in to one of, if not the very last, moderated #hcsm chats to reflect and celebrate with your fellow community members.

Wishing you all the best in the future,

Dana Lewis
#hcsm creator/moderator

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#hcsm – July 31, 2016

Topics:

  1. How has SM changed the medical school curriculum? How should it? How should it not?
  2. Does online patient engagement change how modern physicians should be educated or trained?Why/not? Discuss the implications.
  3. Patients can teach HCPs and often do informally. But should patients have a direct role in formal HCP education? Why/not?

Don’t forget – if you’d like to submit a topic for a future #hcsm chat, you’re welcome to! Read the details on the different ways to submit a topic for a #hcsm chat.

#hcsm – July 24, 2016

Topics:

  1. Apple is putting organ donor Q in setup process for new phones/iOS10. Do you think this will impact organ donations?Why/not?
  2. What other ways could mainstream tech raise awareness of key health issues? What makes or would make the biggest impact?
  3. Generally, do health related apps have long term traction yet? What does it take for an app to become part of a lifestyle?

Don’t forget – if you’d like to submit a topic for a future #hcsm chat, you’re welcome to! Read the details on the different ways to submit a topic for a #hcsm chat.

#hcsm – July 17, 2016

Topics:

  1. How do you measure success in social media for you (or for your organization)?Does your answer differ as a HCP or a patient?
  2. Do patients really want HCPs on SM? Why or why/not? HCPs, what feedback do you get from pts?
  3. Do patients give HCPs feedback on SM usage? Why/not? Should they? Discuss.

Don’t forget – if you’d like to submit a topic for a future #hcsm chat, you’re welcome to! Read the details on the different ways to submit a topic for a #hcsm chat.

#hcsm – July 10, 2016

Topics:

  1.  Does the flurry of Pokemon GO adoption teach us anything about how augmented reality could be used for HC? If so, what?
  2. What if EHRs had social media capabilities to allow pts to easily connect? Or does that matter, now that SM is so prevalent?
  3. Do you advertise your online/social presence? How? HCPs, do you tell your patient you’re online & where? Why or why not?

Don’t forget – if you’d like to submit a topic for a future #hcsm chat, you’re welcome to! Read the details on the different ways to submit a topic for a #hcsm chat.

#hcsm – July 3, 2016

Topics:

  1. How do you think the use of social media in healthcare differs in the US compared to other countries or parts of the world?
  2. What is one thing you wish the US would do different, in regards to social media in healthcare? Why?
  3. Do you think willingness as patients to share health info/experiences online varies country to country? If so, why? Discuss.

Don’t forget – if you’d like to submit a topic for a future #hcsm chat, you’re welcome to! Read the details on the different ways to submit a topic for a #hcsm chat.

#hcsm – June 26, 2016

Topics:

  1. There’s a healthcare provider that hasn’t touched SM yet. What one thing would you tell them before they get started?
  2. How has concept of ‘patient relations’ changed in HC w/ prominence of social media? Or has it?
  3. In the HCSM world, we often talk e-patients. But how can we use SM to help all patients, not just the extra motivated ones?

Don’t forget – if you’d like to submit a topic for a future #hcsm chat, you’re welcome to! Read the details on the different ways to submit a topic for a #hcsm chat.

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