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Johnson & Johnson and Social Health at BlogWorld

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From Devon Eyer, Director, Social Media, Johnson & Johnson

For the second consecutive year, Johnson & Johnson was the primary sponsor for the Social Health track at BlogWorld and New Media Expo, held November 3-5, 2011 in Los Angeles.  The event, which attracts attendees interested in emerging trends in social media and digital technology, has been a rich and rewarding opportunity for us to connect with patients, physicians, nurses, caregivers, advocates and digital health organizations looking to find information, share ideas, and most importantly – connect with others who want to affect change in healthcare.

As the newest member of the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Social Media team, I had the pleasure of attending this year’s event and found it to be a great introduction to what’s going on in the space.  I came away inspired by the passion and depth of speakers and attendees, and impressed by the lively and interactive discussions about challenges, successes and best practices from patients, practitioners and advocates for use of social media to advance healthcare.  Conversations ranged from privacy and rules of the road, to brainstorms about authenticity and making sure relevant, credible information rises to the top of searches for patients who need it.  We captured a range of opinions and perspectives about where we’ve been and where we should go next with social health. 

Special thanks to our presenters and facilitators:

  • Patient bloggers Kerri Sparling, Jenni Prokopy, and Katie Loeb, who with the help of Russ Stark from Brownstone, talked about what companies can do to help support patients’ needs.  
  • Shwen Gwee (@schwen) from Edelman, who shared insights from the Edelman Health Barometer.
  • Nurses and e-content creators Kim McAllister, Jamie Davis, and Terri Polick, who urged fellow healthcare bloggers to understand – not fear! -- the rules of patient privacy as they apply to blogging, tweeting or podcasting. 
  • Medhelp President John De Souza, Enoch Choi, MD (@enochchoi), and Rob Halper from Johnson & Johnson, who with the facilitation of David Tripi from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, shared some examples of digital applications and tools that can be used to change behavior and improve health. 
  • Sean Ahrens, e-patient and designer & developer of Crohnology, and Ignite Health’s Fabio Gratton, who participated in a discussion led by Mark Bard from Digital Health Coalition about guidance for companies who want to participate in the online space. 
  • Digitally engaged physicians Dr. Jen Dyer, Nick Genes, MD and Dr. Val Jones, who were led by Health in 30’s Barbara Ficarra in a conversation about how doctors can successfully engage with patients online. 
  • Edelman Digital’s David Armano and MDM Consulting founder Marc Monseau (@MDMonseau), who led a follow up to last year’s highly successful whiteboard session, capturing the ideas of the group in images to share and stimulate further discussion.
  • Social media thought leaders Scott Monty from Ford (@ScottMonty), Shannon Paul from Blue Cross, Blue Shield Michigan (@shannonpaul) and John LaPuma, MD, Paging Dr. LaPuma, guided by Dakila Davina from Everyday Health, who looked at what the healthcare industry can learn from social media models in other industries.

Although our crowd was small, our collective voice was big! I returned to New Jersey with a firm belief in the power of social communities and tools to advance public health, improve patient outcomes and facilitate better relationships between patients, physicians and, ultimately, everyone involved in healthcare.

The conversations have continued over the past few weeks, and the spark of what began in the room has continued to glow among those who see the potential to change the way we practice and consume healthcare.  We’re looking forward to continuing the dialogue with the participants of this year’s track and creating more conversation forums like this one to generate ideas and move ahead.  As one of our sessions pointed out, we are all patients, and we all have a stake in making healthcare better.  

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