Meet the Experts – Dan Fuoco

We’ve got a special profile this time around. Dan Fuoco has done a top-notch job at Detroit Medical Center, leading their social media presence with a personal touch while innovating with surgical events, catchy videos and a clear strategy for his hospital.  Read closely, Dan has a lot to share.

Please introduce yourself

Dan Fuoco, Public Relations & Marketing Representative, Detroit Medical Center. I have worked at the DMC for 2 ½ years. I am responsible for coordinating events, interacting with members of the media, researching health issues while monitoring competitors and their statuses, and updating our main web site. As we moved into the new world of social media, I became a part of the team that manages DMC’s social media brands: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, as well as our DMC Social Media website and Blog page.

Tell us about your hospital and the department where you work.

The Detroit Medical Center (DMC) is the leading academically integrated system in metropolitan Detroit and the largest health care provider in southeast Michigan with more than 2,000 licensed beds and 3,000 affiliated physicians. Our hospital system consists of 9 main hospitals (each with their own set of social media pages seen here) located in both the Downtown and Metro Detroit area, which include DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan, DMC Hutzel Women’s Hospital, and DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan. We are known for our quality, cost-effective care, accessible, responsive, & personalized service and innovation & academic stature.

What got you interested in social media?

The idea of communicating with individuals and sharing common interests grabbed my attention with major sites like Facebook and Twitter. With Twitter, the short bursts of communication that they provided seemed to confine one’s message, leaving only the most important information. In essence, Twitter makes us cut out the fluff that comes with leaving an email or direct message (different from a “direct message” from Twitter).

What aspects of Social Media do you focus on for your hospital? (Brand monitoring, customer support, outreach, marketing, etc.)

Although all aspects are touched at DMC, I focus on Brand Monitoring for Social Media. Brand Monitoring for Detroit Medical Center consists of careful placement and statistical analysis. I find that the best times to communicate with our audience is around 12:00pm (eastern time for us) because that is the universal time for lunch and what do most of us want to do on our lunch break? Check our social networking accounts. Why? Because a good number of workers are still forbidden to do so during work hours by their management. So one of DMC’s goals is to strategically place our message so that once the average individual has logged on [to a site like Twitter] this message would scroll through their feed potentially gathering the most eyes-per-update and making the entire process seem like a coincidence. By performing this little slight-of-hand trick, I am able to see the clicks as I’m monitoring the brand.

Is there a particular Social Network that you prefer for your hospital program?

We use Twitter the most but the message really determines on the platform. For instance, if we are updating the status of an event in a real time (like with our recent live “daVinci robot” surgery), then we would use Twitter. If we would like to engage our audience directly about their experience at one of our hospitals or pass on some important information about our hospital system and want to provide a summary, we might use Facebook or our DMC Blog page. It really depends on the type of message.
What are the goals of your social media program?

The Detroit Medical Center would like to be a preferred source of information and interactivity in the community. Communication is key and social networking provides the one-on-one communication that allows individuals on both ends to share information about themselves and thus creating a meaningful relationship. That is true social networking. Just like in our traditional marketing efforts, we want to be recognized for our world class health care and expertise also in the social media/health realm.
What’s your opinion on trying to measure ROI for your social media efforts?

The components to accurately measure social media effectiveness per each social media account is challenging. Obviously, with a call-to-action opportunity (with us including links/phone numbers in our Facebook/Twitter posts), we can measure call volume to our DMC call center or hits at dmc.org following a release of information.  If it’s a specific campaign generating information about a specific event, again, it’s the response to the call-to-action that we are able to measure closely in form of registrations/referrals. That helps us see potential business or activity.

How much staff time do you and your team devote to social media a week? How much do you think is right?

Our DMC official “Social Media Team” consists of myself and 2-3 individuals (including marketing/social media manager @Julian_Bond) helping to manage every main DMC corporate social media account along with the ones from each of our eight hospitals and takes up a large amount of my time. I’d say I spend 12-15 hours a week managing our various social media accounts. Much of this consists of interaction and building rapport with our consumer/fan base while the other half is spent both coordinating events (such as our LIVE Doctor Chats over Twitter and covering sponsored events with local sports teams like the Detroit Tigers) and providing content for our blog or social media page.
Did you need to “sell’ social media to upper management

When I first StumbledUpon (pun intended) social media, the whole idea wasn’t well received. As I researched this new platform, I quickly found some benefits that would help me state my case.

I wouldn’t say I had to “sell” the idea of social media to upper management but I did show the benefits of publicity and promotion that wouldn’t hurt the tangible budget. DMC’s VP of Marketing, Dee Prosi, was completely supportive and allowed me to test social media for DMC.  I feel strongly that it was one of the best decisions I’ve made to help this organization.
Can you share a success story?

We actually have a couple of different brief success stories with one being helping with ROI and the other with health awareness/word-of-mouth.

YouTube ICU-2 Handwashing Video


Back in January, our Social Media Team along with our creative director and chief medical officers came up with a fun idea to help raise awareness of our regular handwashing procedures in our ICUs in the form of a “video dance contest” in which eash hospitals’ ICU staff would come up with a creative dance to show the two steps of cleaning hands (which is defined as “hand washing” and “hand sanitizing”) thus naming it “The ICU-2 Dance”. We posted the videos on our DMC website for our employees and public to vote on the best video and then took all of the videos to combine them into piece to place onto YouTube to be seen to a broader audience with the intent of spreading awareness about handwashing. After recently posting up the video seen above, about a week later one of our big local news stations had seen it posted on our DMC Twitter page and then a couple of days had come over to our hospitals to do a story on it which aired on the news the same day . Between this and a great number of RT and mentions from the health online community (mainly from the #hcsm group on Twitter), our video has received a nice numbers of views in the very short time that it’s been featured.

Birmingham Hip Surgery

We coordinated a surgery for our Birmingham Hip Replacement procedure at one of our hospitals to be covered live via Twitter (with step-by-step details of the surgery) and Flickr (with pictures of the procedure itself). The procedure went over well with both the public who viewed live and participated in our interactive Q&A and our internal hospital staff who viewed via post-surgery chat and pictures, and we also received a couple of referrals from viewers who saw the procedure live and then signed up for a consolation on the surgery a few weeks later. The ROI on this procedure to our hospital system is at around $8k each, while the social media promotion behind it was completely free with the use of Twitter and Flickr (w/o any web ads, etc).
What advice do you have for Hospitals considering a social media program?

The best piece of advice that I can give is to keep your communication channels clear and connect all social media accounts as well as total messaging across the system. In other words, if you are working with a team, make sure each member is on board with the game plan and will communicate that strategy concisely.

There is a true advantage to having different social media accounts to cross reference and cross promote. Having information about your homepage or Twitter account on your Facebook account assures that your brand is well represented. LINK your accounts to each other.
What changes do you think we’ll see in the future in terms of how hospitals use social media?

I see a greater range of interaction. I think @PhilBaumann said it best with his list of “140 Health Care Uses for Twitter”. Some hospitals across the nation have already implemented some of those ideas.

I would also like to see more live doctor participation whether that be written (Twitter, FriendFeed) audio (podcasts) or video (YouTube, Seesmic). Doctors are the gatekeepers to our heatlhcare concerns and in the future, I hope to see more doctors on the web offering advice and general help via personal profiles or their hospital.
Any final thoughts?

With our use of social media, we believe that the sky is limit. Social media is still a very relatively new platform to its end-users and we’re happy that we’re on board with the great progress that it’s making every single day. We believe that social media is another layer in the entire communications/marketing spectrum on top of the established traditional media that we still use mainly on a daily basis and realize that not everyone in an age group(s) is as engaged in using social media as others. With that, we still use our regular communication mediums (print, TV, etc) for promotion while also keeping up with and using social media wisely as not to miss out on the main medium that the new generation of people including myself have already started to now use regularly.

  • http://www.patientsafetypeople.com Daisy

    Excellent expose! It’s interesting to see how one of the leading hospitals in the country is utilizing social media.

  • Brett

    Love the video. Ditto, Daisy.