Sunday night, Dana Lewis (twitter handle: @danamlewis) hosted a special two-hour edition of the weekly Healthcare Communications and Social Media Tweetchat to mark its first anniversary.  There was a guest moderator — Lee Aase (@leeaase).  There was a raft of special guests: Nick Dawson (@nickdawson), Greg Matthews (@chimoose), Jonathan Richman (@jonmrich), Liza Sisler (@lizasisler), Jeff Livingston (@macobgyn), Christine Kraft (@christinekraft) and Val Jones (@drval).

While the background and institutional interests of the speakers and the participants is incredibly broad (integrated health care delivery system to payor to digital health care marketing consultant to physician to health care IT consultant . . . ), the focus on the group has been pretty clear over the past year: harnessing the power of social media for the benefit of the patient — providing information to patients, empowering patients and enabling patient choice.  While part of the equation is, naturally, an effort to develop outreach that results in more volume at a particular health care provider, there is great attention paid to the need for authenticity and trust in this particular sort of online relationship.  As I always say, social media is just "one arrow in the quiver," but it is a relatively new and potent one, so this sort of examination of its uses is valuable. 

Read about the history of this weekly tweetchat, known by its twitter hashtag #hcsm — which many of us heard vocalized for the first time Sunday night, as "Hic-Sum" as the chat also took place via Blog Talk Radio (the two-hour broadcast is archived and may be heard here; beware – audio starts as soon as you open this link).

There were many participants in the discussion as well — participating via twitter at #hcsm and on the Blog Talk Radio chat room.  The ongoing discussion owes a debt of gratitude to Tom Stitt (@tstitt) for pulling together the infrastructure and to Meredith Gould (@meredithgould) for pitching on Sunday night, in particular.

I was tickled to be included in the #hcsm timeline: The legal #hcsm tweetchat in June featuring Mayo lawyer Daniel Goldman (@danielg280) and the HealthBlawger, David Harlow (@healthblawg), "reaches 1000+ tweet per hour intensity and is nicknamed the 'fire hose' #hcsm chat."  (See my post on the legal #hcsm chat.)

Here's to another year of interesting discussions online . . . and otherwise, as connections made via twitter leak into that parallel universe we call real life.  I look forward to making more of those connections as time goes on, and I encourage those of you not already following the health tweets mentioned in this post to start following them on twitter; and who knows, maybe we'll hear from you at the next #hcsm tweetchat.

David Harlow
The Harlow Group LLC
Health Care Law and Consulting