Social Media – More Examples Of Usage Within Health Care

The Swedish news magazine Dagens Medicin, in collaboration with K-Street Advisors, arranged a social media seminar today (see comments from the seminar on twitter, #medsm12). We discussed the usage of social media within healthcare. I have participated in similar seminars previously, see for instance my comments from Dagens Medicin’s seminar in Malmö in August last year or Pharma Online’s seminar a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, a very interesting and fun day. In a field with such a rapid development, you learn new things pretty much every day!

Carl Thalen

Carl Thalen

Carl Thalén from K-Street Advisors gave us first a general introduction to social media, and he really managed to cleraly show that ”it is hot!”. 92% of all Swedes have access to Internet, and more than 4 millions are using facebook. In average we update our status on facebook 3 times a day… No wounder, huge ”digital footprints” could be created. Search your own digital footprint on Both fascinating and scary…

Theo Martins

Theo Martins

Theo Martins, also from K-Street Advisors, discussed how much of a paradigm shift social media actually is, or whether or not it is only a new communication channel (although extremely much faster and powerful). he pretty much came to the conclusion that it is really ”only” a new powerful communication channel, but he pointed clearly out that power has been transferred from companies and organizations to ”the people”. In traditional communication channels, being one-way communication mostly, the sender has all the power. In social media it is all about interactivity, and hence the balance of power shifts.

After Theo we got the opportunity to listen to Sara Natt och Dag, counselor and author.

Sara Natt och Dag

Sara Natt och Dag

She gave several very touchy examples of patient blogs. Extremely strong stories about people describing, often in great detail, their entire situation suffering from for instance lethal cancer. You can read some of these stories in Sara’s books (e.g. Sabina och Draken, built upon Sabina’s blog) or follow directly in the blogosphere, e.g. ”Jenny Marklunds tankar” and ”Lars – resten av livet”. Hearth breaking stories. Some of the discussions today in relation to these patient blogs were on the topic ”how should health care professionals act and react to these blogs”. especially interesting question perhaps if it is your patient…

AnnaSara Carnahan from Smittskyddsinstitutet (Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control) gave us an example of their use of social media: A new, rapid and hopefully more powerful way to follow the spread of the flu in Sweden. Read more about the joint EU initiative at

Jens Larsson, attorney from the Uppsala County Council gave us several legal perspectives on the use of social media. One of my take-aways from his presentation is that ”all the same old laws apply to social media as to all other types of information/communication”. Hence, yet another sign that social media is not a paradigm shift, rather a new set of communication platforms (however faster, more powerful and so on and so forth).

I then talked about some of Pfizer’s initiatives in social media. I gave examples from the Can You Feel My Pain Initiative, from Dizza Tobak and from You know all of these from my previous discussions about socila media here on the blog.

One of the great contributions to the Dizza Tobak initiatrive that I shared with the audience was the ”Love this way to die?”. Watch it, you’ll love it! I also took the liberty to show the drop-dead flash-mob initiative from Stockholm Central Station, where we showed that 18 people die from tobacco every single day in Sweden…

Pretty cool to image that the uploaded Dizza Tobak contributions have been viewed almost 380 thousand times altogether! Social media has an impressive reach!

We then listened to Jessica W Sandberg describing the How hetero initiative from Stockholm Pride. The campaign has won several awards, and that is not surprising! Strong and effectful! If you have not seen it, you just have to do the tests! Go to Based on my tweets I am apparently 77% hetero, which turns out to be roughly 15% more hetero than my gay brother. How hetero is a beautiful example how you can make your point effectfully using social media!

Theo then gave us some examples on how to handle crisis arising on social media platforms, and of course using social media in the crisis management, and Carl concluded the day by giving some recommendations on ”how to get started”. No rocket science really: Think first, then act. Begin with a pilot project, and secure that you have your strategy, your messages, and all of those things that are necessary for all other types of communication activities, ready before starting!

It is not a paradigm shift – it is however some really powerful new communication platforms!


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