Last week a surgical team at Memorial Hermann Hospital (right here in Houston!) made medical and social media history by live-tweeting an open-heart surgery—including photos and videos.
This milestone not only gives social media wonks like me the warm-fuzzies; it also constitutes a major coup for Memorial Hermann on several different levels:
- The Medical Community: By including closeup video of the actual surgery, the team allowed surgeons, medical students, and other healthcare professionals to “virtually scrub in” and observe Memorial Hermann’s surgical practices … from the comfort of their own desks.
- Patients and Families: A real-time guide through an actual open-heart surgery is a priceless tool for educating patients as well as their families, helping to demystify the process and improve their comfort levels.
- Prospective Patients and the General Public: Any hospital must be pretty danged confident in its surgeons, its teams, and its procedures to put this kind of content out there … confidence that resonates with its target audience.
Along the way, the Memorial Hermann team demonstrated a few best practices we can all learn from:
Using a (Good) Hashtag
From the beginning the team used the hashtag #MHOpenHeart to promote and track the event. The choice of tag was a good one, incorporating both the hospital name and the procedure while not taking up too many characters.
Incorporating Photos and Videos
Without strong visuals—so detailed that they needed disclaimers—this initiative wouldn’t have been nearly as groundbreaking. But through photos and videos uploaded directly to Twitter, the team offered a seamless experience that was the next best thing to being there:
Responding to Follower Questions in Real Time
Read through the feed and you’ll see several responses to follower questions posted in real time, like this one. Now that’s true engagement, folks!
Integrating with Facebook
And finally, the team ensured maximum exposure by creating a tab on the Memorial Hermann Facebook Page dedicated to the live-tweeted surgery. On the day of the surgery, the tab served as the landing page, and it’s still live today.
So, what are your thoughts on the world’s first live-tweeted open-heart surgery? Let us know in the comments—we’d love to hear from you!
Free Ebook: Top 10 Myths About Social Media for Business
Are you holding back from social media because of something “they” say?
In our free ebook, Top 10 Myths About Social Media for Business, we bust some of the most common misconceptions about social media as a marketing tool for small and medium-size businesses. Download your free copy today and get the scoop on the so-called “conventional wisdom” that could be standing between your business and social media success.