Hospital system promotes EHR via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube

Texas Health Resources has invested millions toward installing an Epic Systems EHR over the last five years. To spread the word about the advantages of the technology, the 24-hospital system based in Arlington, Texas, is embracing social media, using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to educate employees, affiliated physicians and the general public about the EHR.

"THR has invested quite a bit in our EHR, which we have now deployed at the majority of our hospitals, so it's a great idea to leverage social media in a formal way as part of our branding campaign," Vice President and CMIO Dr. Ferdinand Velasco tells InformationWeek. Pages on the popular social networks direct people to a Texas Health Resources website with videos promoting and explaining the EHR.

"In a sense, this is experimental," according to Velasco, who says the health system isn't paying much attention to site traffic. "We really didn't feel the need to collect a ton of metrics initially."

At the very least, THR can show the videos to physicians and others as needed. "That's the idea behind virtualizing the public relations campaign--to make it package-able and reusable on an as-needed basis. That's why I don't recommend you spend a lot of time and effort putting a major production together," Velasco tells InformationWeek. "This way, it allows you to grow organically as the need for information evolves and emerges through those interactions."

Velasco credits CIO Edward Marx--one of FierceHealthIT's Disruptive Forces in Health IT--for seeing the benefits of social media by un-blocking access to sites like Facebook and YouTube from THR computers.

To learn more:
- take a look at this InformationWeek story