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American Family Children's Hospital

UW Health Garners National Social Media Praise

Woman on a computerMadison, Wisconsin - Given its recent designation by US News & World Report as Wisconsin's best hospital, you know UW Health excels at providing top-notch cancer care, performing intricate brain surgeries and ending their patients' asthma agonies.


Did you know they're pretty good at blogging, Tweeting and posting, too?


If you're on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and any of a dozen other social media sites, you likely do, because UW Health has one of the best and busiest social media platforms in the United States, according to, an online resource for current and aspiring health care administrators.


The organization compiled social media statistics for all of the hospitals nationally ranked in at least one adult specialty in the US News report to gauge the effectiveness and scope of their social media. UW Health, which had nine specialties ranked, was deemed the ninth-best health care organization for social media in the nation and best in the state.


"We consider social media a vital component of not only our online presence but within the broader realm of patient communication," said Becky Broering, director of UW Health's Office of eHealth Innovation, which is responsible for the organization's social media efforts as well as its public and internal website development. "We want to meet our patients where they are, and in the last few years patient interest in Facebook and Twitter and the like has exploded."


For the survey, UW Health earned 83 out of a possible 100 points, garnering praise for its:

  • 5,473 likes and 29 people "talking about" UW Health on Facebook
  • 12,725 Twitter followers and 2,404 tweets
  • 535,230 views, 590 subscribers and 723 videos on YouTube
  • 3,081 LinkedIn followers and 1,010 group members
  • Circled by 452 and 553 Google +1s on Google Plus
  • 306 followers, 15 boards and 148 pins on Pinterest
  • 3,893 Flickr photos

"It's a conversation, and one we want to be involved in," said eHealth information architect and social media coordinator Jennifer Walker. "Social media certainly is another avenue for UW Health to share important organizational information. But it's also an avenue patients and people in our community can use to ask questions and let us know what's on their minds. It's not just a one-way street."


Walker used the Radiothon, the annual, three-day fundraiser for American Family Children's Hospital, as an example. In addition to posting Radiothon details to its Facebook pages, members were asked to share their UW Health experiences and send well wishes to the Radiothon families, many of whom still had very ill children at the Children's Hospital.


Hundreds of Facebookers liked, shared and posted comments in support of the Radiothon, and when the final total was announced, nearly 500 followers sent their enthusiastic congratulations.


"And Twitter has proven to be a fantastic source for suggestions for improvements to the hospital experience," Walker added. "Patients will log on after their appointments, and they really seem to appreciate that we're listening to them and responding to their suggestions."


"We want to know what our patients are thinking," said Broering. "Our social media platforms let that happen."


Date Published: 07/25/2013

News tag(s):  recognition

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