Affinity Health System connects with community via social media
09 / 02 / 2009
Maria Nelson, Media Relations
Affinity Health System
(920) 554-0686 (pager)
MENASHA Wis. - Of the 5,700 hospitals nationwide, 174 have YouTube Channels, 174 have Facebook pages and 253 have Twitter accounts. Overall, only 6 percent of hospitals nationwide are currently represented via social media (Ed Bennett and American Hospital Association).
Locally, Affinity Health System is an active participant in the social media movement taking place in health care. Affinity has further engaged with its community through social media by establishing a Twitter account, Facebook fan and group pages and a YouTube channel. These social media platforms allow Affinity to communicate directly with its fans and followers regarding Affinity’s upcoming classes and events, educational or informational content, new hires and media coverage. It also provides the means to address community member comments in real time. Affinity has also begun posting open job positions via Twitter.
Affinity’s approach to social media includes engaging, listening and growing organically, which is in line with current social media tenets.
“We know that many of our current patients and employees are already using these sites,” said CEO Daniel E. Neufelder (@dneufelder), one of only a handful of health system CEOs Tweeting nationwide. “We want to be part of the conversations that are taking place online. These communication channels allow us to interact directly with our patients and members. Engaging with our community through social media is one more way we can deliver personalized care.”
Affinity NurseDirect is also moving forward in social media. Besides having a Twitter account, they have developed a private group on Facebook dedicated to people who are trying to quit smoking. This allows group members to share their struggles with others, gain additional insights, tips, and overall, create a sense of community. An Affinity Facebook group has been started for new employees.
Affinity’s holistic approach to entering social media has included establishing a Social Media Council that meets once a month. The Council includes representation from many core groups throughout the system including physicians, Legal (HIPAA), Human Resources, Information Services, Marketing Communications and Risk Management.
“It’s very important that we all move forward together in social media as an organization,” said Neufelder. “And, actually, setting up a council like this spurs conversations and interactions across the organization. It’s really been a healthy, ongoing dialogue.”
Most recently, Affinity utilized BrightIdeas, an internal brainstorming platform to generate ideas and solicit employee input and participation through voting. Another future communications channel for Affinity employees will be an internal social media platform that will provide a more robust platform for information sharing, conversations and brainstorming – all to facilitate innovation, communication and engagement within the organization.
“Between our external and internal communications channels, Affinity team members are encouraged to approach social media usage during the workday with common sense,” said Will Weider, chief information officer for Affinity. “We certainly don’t want to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm and are fully aware of the positive impact our employees can have on engaging others in the community, and that is extremely powerful.”
For the Editor:
Affinity Health System, a faith-based regional health care network, is the Fox Valley’s second-largest employer, according to the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry. For the fourth consecutive year, Affinity has been named one of the nation’s top 64 health systems based on clinical performance according to Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of health care. For ten consecutive years, Affinity Health System has been named to the SDI (formerly Verispan) Integrated Health Network Top 100, an annual assessment of the 100 most highly integrated health care networks in the nation. Both St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton and Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh rank among the top 1 percent of hospitals nationwide in terms of quality and efficiency, as determined by the 2007 Premier | CareScience Select practice National Quality Award. Members of Affinity include Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Health Foundation, Oshkosh; St. Elizabeth Hospital and the St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, Appleton; Affinity Medical Group, a regional network of 25 family practice and specialty clinics – 22 of which are recognized as NCQA Level III medical homes, the highest level of recognition – in 14 communities; Calumet Medical Center, Chilton; and Affinity Occupational Health.