Integrating Social Media Data Into Healthcare Graphic

Today, during the #HITsm chat, Charles Webster (The workflow addict), shared this interesting graphic on how social media gets integrated into the healthcare workflow. I’d never seen it before today, so I was glad he shared it:

I’m not sure I understand all the lines and abbreviations on the graphic, but the things that resonated to me was the size of the social media funnel and how we need to take that mass of data (much of which is useless) and funnel it down into usable data which then gets funneled down into actionable tasks.

This is actually a lesson for all data in healthcare. The process is the same. Social media is just another form of data. I’ve only seen a few cases where organizations have done this process already, but over the next 5 years we’re going to see thousands of ways this is done to improve healthcare. It’s very exciting for me to consider.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

1 Comment

  • Hi John! TX! Here’s what I wrote about that graphic a couple years ago:

    Much is made of Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud and their potential to disrupt and transform. It is their combination that makes them most potent. Think of the synergy between ubiquitous smartphone video cameras with ubiquitous online video services such as YouTube. Now think not just two, but four, technologies coming together in creative and seductive ways. Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud aren’t just platforms, they are becoming “the” platform. This platform is giant ramjet gathering people and resources, searching for innovation, delivering it, and then releasing people and resources for more progress.

    People become aware of new ideas, technologies, and initiatives through social media (forming/orientation). They sound out potential partners through debate and agreement (storming/conflict and norming/cohesion). They move from superficial activity streams (Twitter, LinkedIn, even FaceBook) to email, forums, and task/case management systems (groupware and case management). Finally, for the data and workflow that’s worth it, tasks are performed while maximizing heads-down productivity.

    At each stage of the funnel, some return to earlier stages, either because they’ve achieved what they sought or because they determine achievement is not possible for a given level of personal commitment of time, money, and resources. Finally, when workflows and processes are worked out, debugged so to speak, they are institutionalized in software and hardware, becoming an invisible and taken-for-granted ambient context of support and enablement.

    Unstructured data (word, tweets, sentences) and unstructured workflow (do what you want when you want) gradually compile down to more structured data (database entries and tagged textual data) and structured workflows (executed by process-aware information systems). The unstructured to structured data relies on natural language processing. The unstructured to structured workflow business process management, workflow engine, and case management systems.

    The SMACWL funnel is the big-picture platform condensing out of our social, technological, and economic ether. It’s bit further along in other industries, but healthcare is not immune from its operation. I saw lots of HIMSS13 exhibit vendors who combined two, three, four, or more of these six digital enabling technologies.

    From my workflow- and language-centric point of view, SMAC is much like an epidemiological “vector”, bringing language-tech (particularly the machine learning aspects of natural language processing) and workflow technology (of special interest to me) into healthcare.

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