#occupyhealthcare: Hype or Hope?

By Gregg A. Masters, MPH

Sunday, November 6th 2011 may mark a tipping point in the weak-tied and ‘talk is cheap‘ happy talk often characteristic of episodic and even planned healthcare social media conversations. While a dedicated and passionate community mostly focused on learning, defining, sharing best practices and what constitutes the ‘meaningful use’ of this emerging communications and community building media, there is no consensus of what the social media value proposition is or should be in healthcare. Is it marketing, customer service, stakeholder data mining, more effective messaging and engagement; or is it about transformation of a house of cards, on the verge of implosion dysfunctional sick care enterprise?

In my view and as I tweeted on the front end:

‘If you’re not about the business of transformation, you are taking up too much bandwidth.’

Editor’s Note: If social media is to create ‘real value’, then it must be able to tame the beast aka ‘the healthcare borg’ or ‘conundrum‘ that passes for the American healthcare system today.

Context for the Tweetchat could be found in the blog post titled: The Fatal Flaw in American Healthcarewhich among other indicia include the spiraling cost of health insurance and ‘diminishing returns’ nature of the benefits offered, the unsustainability of the premium trend trajectory even with the massive cost shifting underlying the health plan industry’s evolving underwriting gimmickry, the number of uninsured, growing pools or ‘under-insured’, on and on.

So on a day when the tribe would usually assemble for a #hcsm conversation, the room was full of healthtweeps who wanted to register their concern for, interest in, and intention to be part of a process that generally would pivot the conversation and perhaps action in a direction to remedy some if not all of these admitted ‘flaws’.

What followed was a barrage of Tweets, but those stats are summarized as follows:

Number of Tweets: 1935
Average Tweets per Hour: 74.42
Number of Participants: 317
Average Tweets per Participant: 6.1

The actual transcript from the TweetChat can be accessed here.

So what’s this got to do with ACO, accountable care and health reform? I float a point of view in my next post.


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