Hospital embraces social media and keeps costs down

U. of Maryland Medical Center eyes its ROI while reaching out to patients. Video

U. of Maryland Medical Center eyes its ROI while reaching out to patients

When it comes to social media, hospitals tend to err on the conservative side.

But the University of Maryland Medical Center plunged right in. It was one of the first hospitals to embrace the Twittersphere, YouTube and Facebook. In July, the hospital launched a medical encyclopedia iPhone app that receives 1,500 downloads per day. For the hospital’s main social media page, click here.

Chris Lindsley, Web site editor, said social media has been the best way to engage with patients and figure out what people are saying about the hospital.

“People want transparency,” Lindsley says. “The more you can do that through social media, the more respect you’ll gain. We want to be there and show people that we’re listening.”

He estimates the team has spent less than $1,000 for video equipment. He says total staff time spent on social media is between 10 and 15 hours per week. The hospital employs seven full-time staff and two contractors. Certain people within the communications and Web team are assigned different tasks, but there’s also a lot of collaboration on projects.

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