Last week my co-worker participated in a Tweet chat for work. Afterwards, she sent all us Jennings employees a link to a health system’s website that typifies what we at Jennings think is the way of the future for healthcare: online communities.
Children’s National Medical Center of Washington, D.C. hosts an online community for parents of sick children. On this site, parents can write letters or create videos for each other about their experience with their child’s illness. It’s a nice way for parents to connect and find comfort in what has worked for other families. It also serves as a wonderful educational tool for parents. I can only imagine that it serves as a much needed outlet for parents of sick children. Some of the letters and videos were so touching and raw.
When my child was four weeks old, she was hospitalized with RSV. I knew no one with a child who had experienced this illness, and knew nothing about RSV. What I wouldn’t have given for a group that had been through a similar experience to support me during that time.
If you have a moment, take a look: http://www.aparentsletter.com/
Online communities are a powerful way for healthcare companies to build brand interaction by giving current and potential customers a way to interact with each other on a personal, emotional level. It’s a marketing approach that’s soft and helpful and so different from traditional marketing.