In their own words: 4 healthcare influencers on the power of social media

Social media is a powerful tool for healthcare professionals to disseminate information and connect with peers, but a number of industry leaders have taken their social media platform to the next level as influential voices on the issue of lowering healthcare costs.

Here are four of the most active leaders currently championing this issue online and their thoughts on what social media means for them.

Dr. Josh Luke, healthcare futurist and author

"As a former hospital CEO, I have championed transparency and collaboration in healthcare as a speaker for audiences both within and outside the industry for years. Some of the most rewarding moments I have experienced, however, come as a result of someone approaching me and sharing a passage from one of my books or a specific post or blog that I shared. The power of social media has brought me together with great minds from all over the world. LinkedIn and Forbes both asking me to write for them in itself is evidence of the strength of social media. It's powerful."

Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of San Diego-based Scripps Health

"I was initially very skeptical about using social media, but my marketing and communications group knew I was very transparent inside of Scripps and thought it would be helpful to the organization, our patients and the healthcare industry for me to share comments and articles on a regular basis. So today, I have a blog that is available on our website and I put it out on LinkedIn and other social sites. I receive significant feedback on the sites, which has actually been helpful. I now have contacts across the country and have reached out occasionally for new ideas and thoughts. But I also have many people who initially contact me on social media and end up having significant dialogue with me after the initial contact. So, I think it's been good for Scripps and for me, and I hope I've been able to share personal and business experiences that help others, as well."

Dave Chase, founder of the Health Rosetta Institute and author

"The biggest reason I'm so active on social media is it's the most effective method I've found to pressure test my ideas. Beyond refining the open source blueprint we're sharing with everyone, I have found Twitter and increasingly LinkedIn to be the best method of keeping up on the cutting edge. Over my career, I've used print newsletters, conferences, RSS feeds, email newsletters, you name it. Nothing has been as effective as my carefully curated list of 100 people I follow on Twitter. It's like having the best research staff I could possibly have for free."

Don Larsen, MD, CMO of Santa Monica, Calif.-based Saint John's Health Center

"As an academic physician by training and practice, now turned full-time healthcare executive, I have been driven to always seek evidence-based, peer-reviewed sources of information to guide my thoughts and decision-making in my career whenever possible. Given how fast healthcare is changing, books and peer review journals quickly become out of date. Therefore I have found some social media outlets, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, have been helpful at times in terms of distributing credible healthcare information much more quickly and efficiently. I'm also always careful to note that opinions expressed on this site are my own, may not represent those of my employers or business partners, and are never personal medical advice."

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