Mayo Clinic using websites, social media for patient interaction

Minnesota-based hospital system sustains a far-flung patient base with the help of deep content—and a new online community.

A patient is diagnosed with a Chiari malformation—a condition in which brain tissue protrudes into the spinal canal—and posts a message on an online forum seeking advice.

Three others comment about their own or their family members’ struggles with the disorder.

The platform is Mayo Clinic’s new online community, open to all who register, whether or not they are patients. One user asks for hotel recommendations near Mayo’s Phoenix campus; another laments that her son suffers from pre-frontal cortex dysfunction and abuses alcohol.

The network, which launched July 5, is the latest innovation from a hospital system that has embraced the Internet and social media as a means of reaching a worldwide audience.

Mayo was recently cited on the Thomson Reuters list of the industry’s top 10 hospital groups, and is examining the Internet communications strategies of these institutions.

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