Mayo Clinic launches global social media initiative

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic said Tuesday that it’s taking its social media push overseas.

The non-profit research and hospital group, based in Rochester, launched the Social Media Health Network, an international group that promotes the use of social media tools like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to promote health, fight disease, and improve health care around the world.

“We believe the Social Media Health Network will be a significant force for learning how to apply social media tools effectively in the health context,” Dr. Victor Montori , medical director for Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, said in a statement.

“It will be a vehicle for us to share what we’ve learned about social media, including our training resources, and for others to join us in learning together and developing best practices,” Montori said. “Ultimately, we want to help health-related organizations of all sizes and types to harness these powerful communication tools to help patients and improve human health globally.”

In July, Mayo created a social media center designed to train other hospitals in the use of social media tools. The new center will provide training, workshops, consulting services and hold conferences on how hospitals can better employ social media to achieve business goals, connect with patients and spread their message.

Mayo said that the first members of its new network include Bon Secours Health System in Marriottsville, Md., Inova Health System in Falls Church, Va., Mission Health System in Asheville, N.C., and Swedish Health Services in Seattle.

In addition, Mayo recruited Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre (UMCN) in the Netherlands as its first network partner and community leader in Europe.

Mayo says it looking for partners in Africa, Asia, Australia and South America.

“Identifying strong organizations like UMCN that are experienced in using social media and committed to collaborating on health-related applications will be crucial to extending the network,” Lee Aase, director of Mayo’s social media center, said in a statement.

Mayo hopes to launch the website, www.socialmediahealthnetwork.org, by the end of October.

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