Medical Center page looks to serve as health resource for Central Mass
Connect with us: www.facebook.com/UMassMemorial
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 3, 2011
Contact: Rob Brogna
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WORCESTER – UMass Memorial Medical Center is now connecting with the world through Facebook. The recently launched UMass Memorial Medical Center Facebook page offers visitors the opportunity to catch up on the latest health news, sign up for health programs and events, connect with other patients or post their own care stories and experiences. While weekly contests and health quizzes keep the site entertaining and interactive, the main focus is on keeping the UMass Memorial community healthy and well informed.
Recent studies have shown that many Americans are looking to reliable social media sources for important information on topics such as health care. Further studies have indicated that consumers believe that if a hospital has a strong social media presence, they are likely to be more cutting edge, using the latest in medical advances and techniques.
For the planning of the UMass Memorial Facebook page, the marketing and communications department partnered with the medical center’s Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC). “It was imperative that we approached this page from the patient’s perspective,” said Walter Ettinger, MD, president of UMass Memorial Medical Center. “Our PFAC group gave us the insight to produce a page that is unique in that way.”
The UMass Memorial Facebook page has also allowed for members of the UMass Memorial community to help forge some powerful connections between patients. For example, Leslie Song, a registered dietitian who works with individuals with cystic fibrosis, created the UMass Memorial Cystic Fibrosis Nutrition group to reach her patients in an open forum where she can share recipes and nutrition resources. Due to the risk of spreading infection, CF patients are discouraged from interacting with one another in person. Because of this, many patients and families can feel isolated in their struggles with managing cystic fibrosis. Through this privacy-protected Facebook forum, they can now share their own nutrition experiences with one another safely.
The page has shown early success, with more than 1,700 “likes” in the first two months. “Our main goal is be part of the ongoing conversations about health; to be a resource for the community,” said Peggy Thrappas, marketing director at UMass Memorial. “If we can answer questions about a heart healthy diet, dispel a few myths about flu shots, or convince someone that it might be time for an annual check up or health screening using Facebook, then it’s a win-win for everyone.”
Additionally, UMass Memorial Medical Center participates in conversations on Twitter and has an active presence on FourSquare and YouTube.
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About UMass Memorial Medical Center
UMass Memorial Medical Center is the advanced tertiary care referral center for Central New England. The Medical Center offers a full complement of sophisticated technology and support services necessary to provide the region with specialists renowned for their work in areas such as cardiology, cancer, diabetes and orthopedics. To learn more about UMass Memorial, please visit www.umassmemorial.org, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.