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Do Canadians talk about healthcare online? Do you want to join the conversation? Check out #hcsmca

If you are on Twitter, you know that hashtags have a powerful way of uniting people with common interests.  For months now, I have been following and participating in discussions with the hashtags #hcsm and #hcsmeu.  I even subscribe to their paper.li daily e-newsletters here and here.

But now, we have our very own Canadian healthcare social media hashtag, #hcsmca, thanks to the initiative by Colleen Young, who is also known as @sharingstrength on Twitter. Colleen manages Sharing Strength, a Canadian online resource and community for women with breast cancer.  She describes herself as a “plain language writer and e-patient advocate”.

Yesterday marked the very first #hcsmca Twitter chat.  Although I was only able to attend the first few minutes of the session (such is the life of a work-at-home Mom with a teething baby and active preschooler), I took the time afterwards to review the tweets that were posted as part of this Twitter chat.  From what I saw, there was a diverse mix of participants; e-patients, healthcare providers, non-profit organizations, health 2.0 enthusiasts and consultants and others.  In fact, there were a total of 75 tweeps who used the hashtag #hcsmca yesterday.  That is  very impressive for a first time event.  You can see the transcript of today’s discussion on Twitter here.  The discussions included introductions of participants, questions about how to use Twitter more effectively, exchange of ideas of how to manage social media for one’s own organization, and more.

Here is the link for the daily #hcsmca e-newsletter.  This will include articles that people on Twitter have posted along with the #hcsmca hashtag.  These posts are not all necessarily related to the #hcsmca Twitter chats, but rather articles that people thought other Canadian healthcare social media enthusiasts might find valuable.

Not on Twitter? Well, I would like to convince you to join Twitter because it is such an effective tool for meeting and talking with people with common  interests, but that is an entirely separate dicussion (but if you want to ask me questions about why and how to use Twitter, send me a note – I’m a big fan of this network).   You can view the discussions happening on Twitter that are related to #hcsmca.  Just check out the links I posted above.  They are available to anybody who uses the Internet.  The only thing is that you won’t be able to participate in the discussion, you’ll just be a listener.  Maybe once you see the quality of some of the discussions, you’ll see the benefit of joining Twitter (again, feel free to send me a note and I would be happy to help).  It also looks as though Colleen will set up a FaceBook page as well as a LinkedIn group, so you will be able to join in the discussion on those networks if you are a member there.  Once I get the links to the new FaceBook page and LinkedIn group, I will share them with you.

UPDATE: FaceBook page and LinkedIn group are now live. Join us!

Congratulations to Colleen for starting a great initiative which will allow Canadians with an interest in healthcare to connect and exchange ideas on the topic.  And who knows, maybe we can help improve Canadian healthcare one tweet at a time.

Do you talk about healthcare topics online?  If so, what do you get out of these discussions?  If not, is there something holding you back?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


Canada’s Online Health Check – Canadian Pharma on Social Networks

If you are looking to network online with Canadian pharmaceutical professionals, you might want to try LinkedIn first.

Mid to end of November 2009, 50 Canadian pharmaceutical professionals responded to a 1-minute survey which asked them about their activity on various social networks.  The results were then divided between “client” (19 responders) and “supplier” (31 responders) companies.  The following highlights the key findings for each of the questions asked.

1.  Do you have a profile or account set up on any of the following social networks?  (Select all that apply)

  • 100% of client and 97% of supplier pharma professionals have a profile on LinkedIn.
  • 68% of client and 71% of supplier pharma professionals have a profile on FaceBook.
  • Twitter is third in line, and this is where you start seeing a moderate discrepancy between the client and supplier side; 32% client and 45% supplier professionals have a profile on Twitter.

2. How would you describe your use of social networks (only think of those that you have a profile or account with)?

  • Over half of the supplier responders log into their social networks at least once per day, whereas over half of the client responders log into theirs approximately once per week.

3. Do you use your social networks mostly for personal or business purposes?

  • 16% of client and 10% of supplier responders use their social media profiles for completely personal purposes.
  • 16% of client and 10% of supplier responders use their social media profiles for completely business purposes (the % are the same as for personal use – these are the correct data based on this survey).
  • 37% of client and 42% of supplier responders use their social media profiles in a mixed fashion – a bit for personal and a bit for business purposes.
  • And finally, 32% of client and 39% of supplier responders use some of their social networks strictly for personal purposes, whereas they use their other networks strictly for business purposes.

*  Although the question was not asked, based on some discussions that I have had with various Canadian pharmaceutical colleagues, most people tend to use LinkedIn strictly for business purposes, and most use FaceBook for personal purposes.  I don’t think this is a surprise to many of you who are reading this article.

Many thanks to everybody who took the time to respond to this survey, and who passed it along to their colleagues.  Activity on social networks changes quickly, so if there is enough interest, I plan on redoing this survey again next year.  Maybe wait 6 or 12 months?  What do you think?  Leave me a comment.

If you would like to invite readers of this article to stay in touch with you on your social networks, please feel free to leave your LinkedIn, FaceBook or Twitter information as a comment to this post.  Happy networking !!


Notes about the survey itself:

i)    8 non-Canadians had responded to the survey.  The results of these non-Canadian responders have been removed from the aggregated data.

ii)    The online survey was promoted via Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn as well as e-mailed to a sample of pharmaceutical employees (e-mailed to both agency and client pharma employees).  The online and social media promotion of this survey may have skewed the results.

iii)   The online survey was set so that responders could only respond once to the survey from their computer in order to avoid duplicate responses by the same person.

iv)   A technical glitch occurred in which some people were not able to submit their survey responses.  Those who contacted me to inform me of this were sent a new link with the exact same questions.  Those who did not contact me would not have had access to the new link, therefore their responses would not be included in the aggregated responses.

Stay in touch,

Marketing 4 Health Inc.
Medical Marketing and Social Media Consultant

Connect with me on the following networks:
FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn


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