White House seeks health reform input via social network LinkedIn

As we all know, politics and social media are becoming inextricably entwined. Legislators tweet their opinions daily on Twitter, candidates establish Facebook fan pages touting their positions, and influence groups use these channels and others to sway policymakers and the public on their pet issues.

Even given this level of engagement, it's still unusual to see a White House official hold an open forum discussion on a critical issue like reform, particularly at a delicate point in the legislative process. That, however, is exactly what the White House has done.

This week, director of the White House Office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle created a group on social networking site LinkedIn  (entitled simply "White House") posing key reform-related questions to the service's broad business and professional audience. The current question under discussion, "What is the biggest health care problem in your state?", has drawn a surprisingly modest 27 responses as of this writing, despite the group's having attracted a huge membership.

However, keep an eye on this effort--we think it may actually raise some health system issues the White House hasn't taken on directly, and encourage staffers to address them head-on.

To learn more about this initiative:
- visit the LinkedIn White House group (reg. req.)
- read the responses to the group's current discussion question on state health systems

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