Converting Opponents into Advocates: Implementing Facebook for Professional Purposes in a Public University Hospital in Spain.

Maria Luaces* Leonor Roa*
Maria Luaces*, Fuenlabrada University Hospital, Fuenlabrada, Spain
Leonor Roa*, Fuenlabrada University Hospital, Fuenlabrada, Spain
Uwe Spangler, I E Business School, Madrid, Spain
Jesus Canora-lebrato, Fuenlabrada University Hospital, Fuenlabrada, Spain
Sonia Gutierrez Gabriel, Fuenlabrada University Hospital, Fuenlabrada, Spain

Track: Practice
Presentation Topic: Building virtual communities and social networking applications for health professionals
Presentation Type: Poster presentation
Submission Type: Single Presentation

Building: LKSC Conference Center Stanford
Room: Lower Lobby
Date: 2011-09-17 12:30 PM – 01:30 PM
Last modified: 2011-08-12

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The Spanish Healthcare System is governed under a state-owned model, condition which plays a key role on the user experience and its relationship with the System. The use of Web 2.0 and social networks as professional tools is just starting to be considered. Furthermore, these new tools are being introduced bottom-up from employees to executives. A computer-based, paper-free Hospital can offer unique opportunities to use the Web for professional development and this is the case of our University Hospital. We have created a dedicated profile in the social network with academic aims for our Hospital. The three main objects are as follows: to provide Physicians, Fellows, and Medical Students with scientific updates in the different areas of interest; to share the Academic Events and Grand Rounds hosted by our Hospital with our scientific community; to provide updated information about scientific events, grant opportunities and other sources of continuing education for our scientific community.
A multidisciplinary Board including Attending Physicians from different areas has been created. The mean age of the members of the Board is 35 and 50% of them are PhDs. Nurses and other health professionals have been invited and are welcome to join the Board in order to keep a wider scope and make the contents interesting to all Healthcare professionals. The Hospital serves a population of 210,000 and has 277 attending physicians, 93 fellows and 90 medical students. The Board has established the rationale, aims and target population. A draft has been presented to the CEO and the Department of Public Affairs. Our main cause of concern was getting the Health Department of the Regional Government`s approval, responsible for any content published on behalf of the Hospital. A prerequisite to obtain the clearance was that contents should be exclusively scientific and devoted to professionals. An English version was also created. The profile finally included the following sections: Wall: main interface to spread information
Info: describing the aims of the Hospital, the company overview, mission, products, profile and contact information Events: announcements of scientific events hosted by the hospital
Notes: further information
Photos: from the events in the Hospital or other events of interest
Information about the new profile was spread on a peer-to-peer basis.
The official Facebook profile was published on the 24th of January 2011 without any official opening. Since then, there have been 9542 visits to our posts. 90% of the users are in between 31 and 45 years old, and 61% are women. The wall receives most of the visits (458), followed by the info (74) and the events (56). There are 74 followers in the Spanish version and 15 in the English version. Their country of origin is Spain in 70 cases, USA in 3, and UK in 1. Comparing the number of visits with the number of posts, we have only had 12 feedback comments, but all of them are positive. Quantitative tools to evaluate the use of the web service include a survey via Google Docs- as well as data provided by Facebook itself. This survey is yielding information about baseline characteristics, current use and perceived needs of the users. After 3 months of postings, the initial reluctance of the directives to support this social network has turned into realization that it really serves as a teaching tool and as a very good marketing tool to attract medical students and fellows. Up to date, only 5 out of the 20 Public Hospitals in Madrid are hosting a social media profile, due to the lack of awareness of its usefulness and, ultimately, to the so-called “digital gap”.
A dedicated Facebook page for a University Hospital in Spain with an academic profile has been considered as innovative and is progressively gaining acceptance within the local medical community. There is a growing trend among healthcare professionals towards using the social network to interact with peers. In the future, the profile will keep on evolving into a highly interactive tool as it is already integrated in the daily routine of our Physicians, Fellows and Medical Students.

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