Welcome to the first blog from TaysideHealth. This blog has been set up as a resource for the people of Tayside, by the people of Tayside, to share health knowledge, ideas and achievements, and ultimately to help spread experience, opinion and improve communication across the region. There will be no theme or corporate vision. It is hoped the topics will be of interest to a wide range of readers, here in Tayside, across Scotland and the world.
The popularity of social networking sites shows how these methods of communication are quickly becoming part of mainstream culture. Scotland’s Digital Future: A Strategy for Scotland (2011) talks about the transformation in expectations of public services in the internet age where access to and use of the internet is growing across all age and social groups. Indeed, Scotland’s ehealth strategy (2011) positively encourages people to manage their own health and wellbeing and to become more active participants in the care and services they receive.
TaysideHealth will promote engagement with people who live and work in Tayside. This new communication tool will provide an opportunity to engage directly about the health issues important to local people. In essence, TaysideHealth will enable people to speak out and share their thoughts and ideas on health issues that matter to them…to contribute their views, access information and interact with others.
Effective communication is one of the greatest challenges for care providers. The nature and pace of change in today’s care environment can be exhilarating and even fun. If we are being honest, it can also be painful and downright scary!
Paul Gray, Chief Executive of NHS Scotland and Director General for Health and Social Care says…
“I started using Twitter because I could see the value of direct engagement with people – and it does show real time reactions to incidents and situations. Social media offer really useful ways to engage, and it’s important that we do so professionally – but in a friendly and open way too, accepting that there may be differences of views about particular issues. We can also share useful information widely, and have conversations; the Twitter limit of 140 characters is a good discipline in terms of brevity. There are limits to what social media can be used for, of course. It’s not for dealing with emergencies (although it’s very useful in keeping the public informed about our response to incidents) and it’s not the place to discuss personal or sensitive issues. The TaysideHealth blog seems to me like a really useful contribution to the discussion about how we deliver healthcare in a way that best meets the needs of the people we are here to serve.”
Derek Barron, Associate Nurse Director for Mental Health in NHS Ayrshire and Arran set up the Ayrshirehealth blog in June 2012, and has said from the outset, “I want to challenge the status quo amongst my professional colleagues that we don’t really do social media. Our patients, their families or staff are using it, and potentially we’re being left behind unless we understand it.”
And in March 2013 Ken Donaldson, Associate Medical Director in NHS Dumfries and Galloway established Dghealth stating that he firmly believes that “social media offers a novel opportunity to break down some of the communication barriers between service providers and service users.”
Both blogs are proving to be effective communication tools. Ayrshirehealth has 53,000 reads and has achieved 1,014 reads in one day! Dghealth recently celebrated 50,000 reads and has hit 860 reads in one day. Both can boast an international readership spanning 115 countries. Both blogs are referred to as a source of opinion. Both receive article submissions from service users, carers and patient organisations. Pretty impressive don’t you think?
How to get involved with TaysideHealth
TaysideHealth will strive to publish one blog a week in 2015. It has received 6 blogs already and has another 8 bloggers signed up following a fun and informative social media workshop in Dundee in September 2014.
Blogging and Social Media workshops
TaysideHealth is keen to recruit new bloggers. So, if you have an interesting experience from a student perspective, a compelling health message, an improvement plan that worked, a lesson learned from a service user, family or carer, a story of how you or your team won an award for innovative practice, or anything else that you feel would be worthwhile sharing with the population of Tayside (and beyond!) then please email: email@example.com
If you would like TaysideHealth to deliver a social media workshop please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter & Facebook
Already @TaysideHealth has 63 followers including a rich mix of individuals identifying themselves as living and/or working in Tayside, healthcare professionals and leaders in self management and patient safety, condition specific voluntary sector organisations, co-production leaders and disability sport clubs. TaysideHealth invites you to become part of this strong foundation of followers.
TaysideHealth also has a Facebook page which, if you “like”, will inform you when blogs have been posted as well as providing a direct link for you to access the blog.
As with any communication tool, social media has a few potential pitfalls which are avoidable with a little preparation.
Read your local social media policy.
Read your profession’s social media guidance.
Check the privacy settings on your social media profile.
When using social media, remember if you wouldn’t say it aloud in the canteen, don’t post it online.
Social media can have a positive impact on your job helping you to make new connections.
More helpful advice can be found in the NHS Employers’ Guide to using social media in the NHS.
Don’t miss next week’s blog written by a loving father who describes his family’s positive experience of communication 21st century style to keep in touch with his young son during a hospital admission.