Engage Well event asks how social media can be used to improve healthcare

Speakers from the NHS and other organisations discussed why social media is important at The Innovation Agency’s ‘Engage Well’ event.

Caroline Kenyon, Director of Communications & Engagement, the Innovation Agency introduced the event. She stated the reason for the event as being for “how health professionals can use social media as a tool”.

A number of healthcare professionals spoke about the use of social media, highlighting topics such as how social media projects can be used to better engagement between the NHS and patients; how digital technologies can be deployed in health and how patient opinion can be presented online.

Among the speakers was Naomi McVey, North West AHP Workforce Lead who spoke about  the ways in which healthcare professionals are using social media to help improve health and care. McVey examined how evidence based practice, experiences and perspectives in healthcare can be discussed on social media in a supportive way.

McVey’s social media presence is based on Twitter, which she states as being “a vehicle for focus and discuss”. She referenced two focus discussions held on Twitter regarding NICE’s guidance on lower back pain and suicide prevention. During them Twitter users came together to talk about the challenges and insights into both the issues.

Other speakers included Dr Cristina Vasilica, research fellow in Digital and Social Media in Healthcare who spoke about her group’s latest project, GMKIN – a peer-to-peer online support network created to help patients with chronic kidney disease.

Kate Norman, digital and design communications specialist at Cumbria Partnership NHS trust, spoke about the change she’s experienced over the past four years. Norman referenced how digital technologies can be used to gain feedback from patients and help drive improvements within the trust.

The event also included a session on where visitors rotated between key speakers and offered their own opinions on what organisations can do to bolster support through social media.

Reece Armstrong is a reporter for Digital Health Age. Coming from the North East of England, Reece has an MA in Media & Journalism and a BA in Popular & Contemporary Music from Newcastle University. Reach him on Twitter or email via: reece.armstrong@rapidnews.com

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