Presentation: 4 ½ Reasons WHY : Social Media for Physicians in Integrated Care Delivery – Ignite format

This is the second presentation I gave on social media last week. The first audience was interested in the “how,” this audience is interested in the “why”. (see: What does social media mean, in an integrated care system? A conversation at @KPGarfield | Ted Eytan, MD)

This audience is 42 physicians, in their leadership journey, from 6 Permanente Medical Groups (Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, Northwest Permanente Medical Group, Group Health Physicians, Colorado Permanente Medical Group, The Southeast Permanente Medical Group, and Ohio Permanente Medical Group). I’ll post on this leadership program separately.

And….I can’t believe it but I actually decided to do this in Ignite format. The disbelief is because I recall how challenging the Ignite format was for me when I first did it (see: Slides, Script, References, Photos, from my #ONCmeeting Ignite Talk – Acceleration and Tipping points – Consumer E-Health | Ted Eytan, MD). This time it was easier….and it was right for this discussion. Following the presentation I was asked more about the format, which none of the physicians had heard of. A little diffusion of innovation on top of diffusion of innovation.

My attempt to record a video of me giving the talk didn’t work out, so I’ve closed captioned the YouTube video of the slides above (just hit the “cc” button), and/or you can access the slideshare + the script as well as sources of the data (for an Ignite, you typically want the source information separate, to keep the slides clean). Let me know what you think.

The YouTube is timed at 5 seconds per slide instead of 15 seconds, to accommodate the attention-deficit web/mobile viewer of the content.

Social Media – 4 1/2 Reasons WHY for physicians in integrated care from Ted Eytan


Washington, DC, is the most social city in the United States. It’s the most walkable city in the US, it’s compact, and it’s a place with shared challenges and leadership in society. We can’t vote like residents of other states; however, we’ve had marriage equality since 2010. It’s a great place to understand the “why” of social networking, with information that I’d like to share with you about why it’s important to us as physicians in an integrated, non-profit, care delivery system.

This is where my “why” started, in 2005, when I was helping to lead a statewide EHR/PHR project. I needed to use social media because it was the only way to communicate authentically, honestly, and frequently during a time of immense change.

Reason 1. We value communication. The ways people are communicating is changing.

Look at 2005: Just 7 years ago, very few people were using social networking sites, even among people aged less than 30 years old.

Now, look at the generation after Generation Y. If you ask teens how they communicate with their friends, they cite text as most common way they communicate with friends. Social networks are #2, in person is #3.

At the same time, their FAVORITE way of communication is in person, followed by text, followed by social networks. In person will always be valuable. Think about social networking as an ADDITIONAL method to all of the ways you will need to communicate as a colleague and as a physician with the people you serve.

This is what I hear from our patients today, like Mackenzie Marsh, who’s pictured here. She told me, “social networking does not replace the way I communicate. I talk with people in person, on the phone, in text, over facebook, all at the same time.”

This brings us to reason #2. We want to be there for our patients (and they want to be there for us).

If you look at the data from 2002 to 2011, health professionals are still the #1 place that people go to get health information. Notice, this percentage hasn’t gotten lower since 2002.

The data is even more significant for caregivers, 78% of them cite health professionals as the most common place they go to get health information.

Reason #3: We came here to change the world. I took this photograph at the AIDS Quilt display in Washington, DC, the first time the quilt has been shown there since 1992.

There are so many stories like this, during a time when the medical profession was not as compassionate as it could have been – causing people to ask “why?” about the death of their loved one.

Our ancestors, at Kaiser Permanente and Group Health Cooperative, wanted our organizations to demonstrate a replicable model, that gave people the choice to practice medicine in a higher quality, more compassionate way. We want to continue this tradition.

At Kaiser Permanente, this is not the case. We made an announcement in 2012 with the White House that we have eliminated disparities in care for HIV/AIDS patients. You don’t have to be white, Black, Latino, straight, gay, female or male, to achieve comparable outcomes at Kaiser Permanente. We have posted the HIV challenge online because other care providers and health systems should have this option (and really, a requirement) to eliminate disparities, too.

This is my blog post about that announcement. I blog because I want people to know that there is a voice for change, that we don’t have to do things the same way they have always been done. When I was in training, there was NO voice that I could turn to to understand that what was going on in my environment was not right, that the profession was not behaving professionally. I use social media to hopefully be that voice for others.

This is reason #4. Play at

Our ancestors led the way before anyone else did in thinking about environmental causes of good or poor health. Sidney Garfield recognized the benefit of sunlight for healing (the photograph on the right is called “sun bath”). Today, we are still thinking about the determinants of health beyond health care. We want physicians’ work to not be defeated by the environment, at Kaiser Permanente and beyond.

We have an amazing culture here, that allows us to innovate, and tell the world about it. People know that I’m passionate about walking meetings, and I can use social media to talk about the benefits and get feedback on what this means for others.

The ½ reason is that our leaders want us to. Bill Marsh, MD, is interested in exploring the lives of our patients beyond their health care through social media. We recently hosted the Permanente Executive Leadership Summit, with its own social network. This allowed 300 of leaders at Kaiser Permanente and the top health systems in the United States (and world) to engage in frequent, informal, small bits of communication + LISTENING, which is what social media ultimately is – listening.

With those why’s, it’s easy to see why you can find me here, here, here, here, here, and here. Glad you’re going to join me.

Sources of the data used above

Ted Eytan, MD