MUSC and their use of social media

Social Media has become a good way to stay connected with friends, family, extended relatives, co-workers and even long-forgotten people of the past. These social media outlets were created for personal use, but some hospitals, along with other businesses, have found a different use for social media: stay connected and communicate different programs with employees. MUSC, Medical University of South Carolina, uses Facebook as a way to educate employees on health and wellness topics, post pictures of employees being healthy at work, and share fun, new employee wellness events.

Susan Johnson, MUSC Employee Wellness Program Coordinator, answers a few questions reagrding MUSC's Employee Wellness Facebook beginnings, their current efforts and programming, and how Facebook and other forms of social media help to promote their employee wellness inititatives to staff. 

Kendyl Schultz (KS): How long has MUSC been using social media to communicate to the staff and community about wellness efforts at your facility?

Susan Johnson (SJ): We started [MUSC's Employee Wellness] Facebook page about 6 months ago and also started posting wellness events on the MUSC's Facebook page about that same time.

KS: What wellness programs do you offer MUSC employees and how do you advertise that on the Employee Wellness Facebook page? 

SJ: We offer Pilates classses, Fitness Fairs, and host events such as START! Walking Day, Bike to Work Day, and Zumba Fest! to encourage physical activity. For nutrition and healthy eating we provide Breakfast Brain Boost, "Eat This, Learn That", START! Eating Healthy Day, Sodexo's Wellness and You program, live cooking events, a farmers market, and weight management challenges and competitions. Tobacoo ccessation is an important aspect of healthy living so we use online resources such as The State Health Plan & BlueChoice's Quit for Life® Program, which is free to subscribers & their covered dependents, phone resources like the SC Tobacco Quit Line, which is a free service to all SC residents and employees can talk with a trained tobacco treatment specialist who will assist them in their quit attempt, and we offer quit tobacco help in person through MUSC's Smoking Cessation Program. These programs, along with our special events, such as AHA Heart Walk, ALA Fight For Air Climb, MUSC Wear Red Day, Food Swap food drive, Nurse and Hospital Appreciation Week, Healthy Holiday Live, MUSC Good Eats!, monthly themes & “benefit of the month” programs, and Wellness Wednesdays, are promoted both on our own Facebook page and the MUSC Facebook page. We try to post events and announcement to inform employees about upcoming events, and then to post pictures and videos after the events to showcase our employees participating in and enjoying our programs.

KS: Have employees been receptive to the idea of receiving updates, notices and other messages regarding employee wellness on Facebook rather than through pay stub inserts, bulletin boards, email, etc?

SJ: I don’t think we necessary want Facebook to replace our other methods of communication but rather see it as an additional tool to help us reach a wider audience.  That being said, the folks who are on Facebook enjoy seeing the posts and often comment – especially when we include photos of their co-workers!

KS: How has Facebook and other forms of social media changed the way you interact and communicate with the employees?

SJ: It has given us a way to post pictures, keep folks engaged, let other people know about what we are doing (especially when we post things to the MUSC facebook page since it reaches a much larger audience). It has also given us an opportunity to reach wellness partners outside of MUSC (local vendors, friends, colleagues, etc.)

KS: Where do you see social media fitting into your future communication plans among staff?

SJ: We would like to run a “challenge” to increase the number of people who “like” our Facebook page so we can reach a larger audience. We would also like to start using twitter. We hope to update our webiste and set it up so we can show our Facebook and twitter feeds on our homepage.

Social media has come a long way from being a new way for teenagers to stay connected. It has become a way for businesses to annouce different programs and "competitions" for staff, create awareness of upcoming events among employees, share employee successes and obstacles, and most imporantly engage staff in current company efforts. If you are interested in MUSC's employee wellness programs, how they use social media to communicate those programs to employees, and Susan's experience with MUSC and their use of social media, please contact Susan Johnson, 843.792.1245.

07-29-2011 01:53 (EDT)