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NEWS ALERT: East Bay Business Times interviews me about inviting Kaiser to face critics at Healthcare Blogging Summit

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Kaiser declines to share a panel with their critics at the Healthcare Blogging Summit! East Bay Business Times interview breaks the news.

East Bay Business Times, Kaiser's hometown journal has two articles. One about Kaiser's early encounters with blogs and social media and one on how hospital administrators and executives should use blogs.

The first article sets the stage with breaking some news about the next Healthcare Blogging Summit coming up in Las Vegas on April 30. I will be moderating a panel discussing the challenges and opportunties of openness faced by healthcare organizations. Here is the summary:

Open Healthcare – Learning to Live in the Brave New World
Openness, Controversy and Crisis Management in Blogs and Social Media

We are going to talk about Kaiser, which last year became the "Ground Zero" test case of how the rules of communication changed, when Justen Deal sent out a company-wide email sharing his concerns about HealthConnect. Justen has since been voted "Man of the Year" on the influential HISTalk blog.

Now what was the news scoop and why is it important?

Let's start with the news facts in chronological order:

  1. Kaiser's HealthConnect becomes the biggest story demonstrating the influence of open media on healthcare
  2. Questions are raised why this major story is ignored at our last Summit in DC and I acknowledge the need to cover it.
  3. After consulting with bloggers, I decide to program a panel on openness and invite both Kaiser and their critics to share the stage.
  4. The invite was communicated to the office of Kaiser's Senior VP of Marketing and after some discussion Kaiser declines to participate.
  5. We are going to proceed with our panel in Vegas, to talk about what this means for the rest of the healthcare industry

To boil it down, Kaiser flunked the early test of communicating through the new media. The Rule #1 is that if you do not like a story, it is not going away if you ignore it. Blogs and social media have a way of making news percolate indefinitely. Instead of taking up a golden opportunity to seize the high ground and clear the air, Kaiser is turning their decline to talk into the story itself.

The kind of story that gets picked up by their hometown paper, with headlines like this: Kaiser sizing up blogs, 'social media'

The bottom line is simple. Trying to control your message? Fuggetaboutit!

People will talk about your organization online whether you like it or not. Google will happily serve up their opinions, often as the very first thing searchers find. If you are not engaging your critics in a dialog, your motives are immediately called in the question and rightly so. The only way you can win is by showing a human face with all warts, inviting input and following through.

Hiding behind "patient privacy", quoted by Alix Sabin, Kaiser's media relations manager to East Bay Business Times, just does not cut it. Yes, privacy concerns are real but they are a lame excuse, when the real issue is something else. Read HealthTrain Manifesto on how to reconcile the cognitive dissonance.

Even George Bush could bring himself up to talk to North Korea. There is no valid reason why healthcare leaders and organizations should not engage in blogs and social media, of course taking some common-sense precautions.

Control of the message is so 20th century. The name of the 21th century game is trust. The only way to earn it is through openness.

In the coming weeks I will be covering the Kaiser story and its various meanings and angles in greater depth. Stay tuned!

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from HealthCareVox on Wed, 02/28/2007 - 10:03am

Readers of this blog know that I’m a big proponent of social media communications.  I’m excited about its possibilities and believe it has the potential to improve customer service and reputations.  I also think it can help individua

from medmusings on Sat, 02/24/2007 - 11:21pm

GoToMyPC : Remote Access to Your PC From Anywhere, Remote Desktop Control, Remote Access Software, Remote Email Access, PC Remote Control, Pcanywhere Alternative NEWS ALERT: East Bay Business Times interviews Dimitriy Krulgak about inviting Kaiser to fac

Comments (6)

Submitted by gadfly (not verified) on Wed, 02/21/2007 - 9:01pm.

Wait until you see Kaiser's spin memos to counter the L.A. Times article on HealthConnect. Putting your organization in its best light is one thing: trying to bulldoze over the truth is another. It's incredibly demoralizing to Kaiser's own employees to see Kaiser continually wallpapering over reality. It's a bad omen for what will happen to them the minute a person of higher rank decides to mess with their lives.

Ps. In regard to the BizJournals article, I'm disappointed that Matthew Holt chose to denigrate other bloggers. As a respected health care blogger, his support could make the whole patient advocacy community look stronger. Instead he is positioning himself as a "pro" blogger at the expense of people who blog for social social change.  

The BizJournals also wronged me by calling attention to the State of California "warning" me about my blog. This "warning" was an illegal act from a State agency that has no authority whatsoever over private citizens (it regulates HMOs). This same State agency (the Dept. of Managed Health Care) pressured me into signing a settlement with them as soon as they realized their mistake, and then proceeded to ignore their half of the settlement. I have made repeated requests to the Governor of California for TWO YEARS to address this: this weekend I'm writing another letter to point to the BizJournals article as an example of the ongoing consequences of just letting the matter slide.  




Submitted by hippocrates on Thu, 02/22/2007 - 8:24pm.


I wouldn't read much intent into any inaccuracies or quotes in the article.  You have become so visible that I have no doubt none of your corrections will be left out there unnoticed.

You should also have ample chance to debate Matthew at the conference.

Submitted by Matthew Holt (not verified) on Sat, 02/24/2007 - 12:45pm.

I did? As I cant read the pw protected article, I dont know what I've said. However, there was plenty of denigration of me in regard to being "Kaiser's tame blogger" coming from a source you know well, Gadfly!

Submitted by Enoch Choi (not verified) on Sat, 02/24/2007 - 9:56pm.

I read the article. Matthew, just click the link at the top of Dmitriy's post.

I didn't read any denigration of other bloggers by Matthew. I only read the report that Matthew took heat for not being harder on Kaiser, which I don't understand, when talking to him at HealthCamp.


Submitted by gadfly (not verified) on Wed, 02/28/2007 - 2:28pm.

Matthew - I sent you instructions on how to access the article. I'm concerned about the "tentacles" remark. I think the issue of considering the reputations of others as we would consider our own has become a vicious cycle between us - with me feeling belittled and marginalized and you feeling unjustly labeled as a pro-Kaiser blogger. I look forward to working this out at the conference, because I'd much rather have a situation where we both respected each other.

Submitted by rosewhite666 on Thu, 01/27/2011 - 1:59am.

I made it to the Heathcare Blogging Summit, and my panel went well. Kaiser had been approached about sending a representative to participate on the panel, but apparently I scared them away.


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