Updated on: March 17, 2016

#ICD10: Upwardly Social in Some Circles

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Original story posted on: June 5, 2014

One thing you can say for certain about ICD-10 is that it is making a substantial impression—or at least its popular Twitter hashtag, #ICD10, is.

More than 400 million impressions have been generated by approximately 16,000 individuals posting 135,000 tweets since the first tweet ever chirped. Those and other statistics come by way of Brad Justus from Kforce Healthcare, citing statistics from Symplur.com, the social media equivalent of television’s Nielsen, that measures audience size and delivery. Justus also credits the first #ICD10 hashtag as coming from Steve Sisko who tweeted, according to Justus, an announcement about an upcoming webinar for the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, on February 10, 2011.

 

Fast-forward to March 31 of this year, when the U.S. Senate voted on HR 4302, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, which had tucked inside the bill’s text a provision for delaying ICD-10. On that evening, as the Senate voted, #ICD10 was tweeted 5,574 times. At the same time, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) own hashtag, #NoDelay, had 5,574 tweets.

As ubiquitous as social media has become in the fabric of American life, the use of social media, particularly Twitter, doesn’t appear to have gained a foothold with at least some healthcare professionals.

During yesterday’s “Talk Ten Tuesday,” the broadcast’s “Ten Ready” poll asked the following questions to probe social media usage: How often do you rely on social media for ICD-10 news? Nearly 21 percent responded “every day,” while a surprising 30 percent said they didn’t use social media at all. On the other hand, 23 percent said their organization blocks the use of social media.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU REPLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA FOR ICD-10 NEWS 

EVERYDAY: FOLLOW ICD-10 ASSOCIATIONS AND THOUGHT LEADERSFOR UPDATE-TO-DATE NEWS

20.93%

OFTEN: WHEN THERE’S BREAKING NEWS I WILL CHECK TWITTER OR FACEBOOK

  8.37%

SPORADICALLY: I HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS BUT DON’T KNOW WH TO FOLLOW FOR NEWS

17.21%

NOT AT WORK: MY ORGANIZATION BLOCKS SOCIAL MEDIA ACCESS, HOWE I GO ONLINE AT HOME

23.26%

I DON’T USE SOCIAL MEDIA

30.23%

Public relations and social media consultant Stephanie Thompson sees these results as a giant missed opportunity. She’s especially baffled the 30 percent of healthcare professionals who say they don’t use social media at all.

“Among the many purposes served by social media networks, the key ones for professionals are reaching new audiences and discerning what your users are saying about your product or service,” says Thompson. “By creating and maintaining an active Facebook and Twitter presence, you have at your disposal, 24 hours per day, the equivalent of a real-time focus group that is talking about you. Are you listening?”

In her social media practice, Thompson counsels companies or individuals seeking to establish a social media presence and join the conversation. “No matter the subject, I guarantee you there are people out there—your target audience—talking about it online. The #ICD10 hashtag is a good example. What they say could—and should—be seriously impacting your marketing initiatives. If you want to know what is being said, or be part of the conversation—much less control the message—you have to be on social media. It’s no longer optional.”

As for the 17 percent of respondents who have social media accounts but don’t know whom to follow for news, Thompson says that’s just a matter of investing some time and effort in exploring the Twitterverse. “Companies and individuals who are late to enter the social media universe tend to drag their feet until something or someone convinces them—then they want to jump in all at once,” she says. “They look for quick fixes and don’t understand why they can’t build a large following overnight. They can get frustrated or overwhelmed at first. Often they fall prey to so-called online marketing specialists who promise unrealistic results and high follower numbers.”

In fact, Thompson continues, the most effective social media practice develops organically. “Although using social media doesn’t cost money, it does take time, and time is money, whether it’s your own personal time or the company’s,” she points out. “If you’re implementing a social media program at your company, you should be prepared to have one or more dedicated staff members whose full-time job consists of monitoring social media conversations in your area, putting out your messages, and, most important, engaging with others who are talking about you and your subject matter online.” Thompson adds that if you don’t hire an experienced social media practitioner in that position, you should use a consultant to train whoever will be your in-house social media staffer in techniques, strategies, online etiquette, and best practices.

 “You need to do it yourself, but you need to know what you’re doing first.”

Disclaimer: Every reasonable effort was made to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time it was published. However, due to the nature of industry changes over time we cannot guarantee its validity after the year it was published.
Chuck Buck

Chuck Buck is the publisher of ICD10monitor and is the executive producer and program host of Talk Ten Tuesdays.