Pre-reading: What do you think will be the big changes to the NHS’ use of social media in 2013?

January 7th, 2013 by

Yep, that’s right; we’ve plumped for the traditional topic to kick off #nhssm in 2013.

What do you think will be the big changes to the NHS’ use of social media in 2013?

Come and play social media crystal ball gazer with us from 8-9pm this Wednesday (09 January). To start us off here are four areas we think we’ll all see more off in 2013…

Individual clinicians using social media in a professional capacity

As more and more clinicians begin to get to grips with the potential social media has to save them time and deliver a more relevant service to their patients we’ll also see NHS organisations turning their attention to how the web can help them save money and improve services.

We think these two trends are going to lead to more NHS organisations having official staff presences on social media platforms. It has already happened with NHS chief executives, next up specialist nurses. And don’t be too afraid the charity sector has already shown us how to do it, and no, it doesn’t guarantee patient confidentiality will be breached.

Social media toolkits being developed as part of every national, regional and local campaign

Be Clear on Cancer, Flu Safe, Choose Well and Stoptober have all had social media content attached to them. Pre-written tweets full of facts and ready for regional tailoring have be available to communications teams for the past year.

We think that in 2013 the campaigns side will change from including social media content as an annex to planning the whole campaign around social media to meet the digital by default agenda. In turn this will help pull NHS communications teams into using social media content as it will no longer be an appendage to the main campaign material.

Consultations being taken online

As any NHS organisation which is undergoing change will tell you, it is easy to set up a Facebook group to campaign for or against the change.

In 2013 we think the NHS will follow those campaigners online, properly. Expect tweetchats on the proposals, regular (short) update videos on YouTube from those leading the work, Facebook updates, blogs and online forms all to be beautifully (we hope) crafted together into one website. The public will have a place to go online to find out everything to do with potential changes to local services.

If we assume this approach will lead to an increase in responses to proposals it throws up the interesting question of how to deal with them all. Is a blog comment a response to the formal consultation?

NHS-wide customer service platform

Finally, there’s the November 2013 start date for the NHS Commissioning Board’s customer service platform. Lead by Tim Kelsey’s Patient and Information Directorate this platform aims to be a central point for patients and the public to find out about the NHS. They’ll be able to compare hospitals; perhaps even individual clinicians in time, leave comments, complain, make suggestions, search for the best GP and more.

If this platform comes off it’ll change everything. But we don’t think 2013 is the year for it. Expect it to really gain ground and influence in 2014. If there were shares to be had now would be the time to buy them.

Wishing you all a happy and successful 2013! We’ll see you in the chat.

The #nhssm team :)

p.s. do take  a look at Victoria Betton’s excellent ‘Social media in an NHS Trust –10 priorities for 2013‘ post too!




Norman Briffa January 8, 2013

Good sensible suggestions. I suppose Social media use in health will really take off when demographics ( which are changing all the time) of patients is right.

Roz January 8, 2013

Would be interested to see a follow up chat on: What do you think will be the big changes to Patients use of social media in 2013?

Helen Bevan January 11, 2013

It’s great to see these forward directions. I so look forward to a world of open, transparent communication and connection. Some of the current reality is a million miles away from this. An NHS nurse is coming to my octogenarian Mum’s house on Monday 14th January. I can’t be there so I asked if I could send an email to the nurse, in my capacity as a family member, providing some background information which will help with my mum’s assessment. The nurse said that she wasn’t allowed to accept an email about a patient unless it is sent anonoumously! As a result, I can’t contribute to the assessment process and my mum loses out. Please #nhssm community keep up your call to action on use of technology. One day every daughter will be able to send an email to their mum’s nurse.

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