Houskeeping Update

My transition from health system employee to full-time consultant meant changes to my web presence. A new site, Ed Bennett Consulting was designed and written by Meredith Gould.

This site has been re-named Ed Bennett Consulting – Tools and Resources. It holds the Physician Transparency List and the upcoming Hospital Search tool. Old blog posts will be removed, with some updated into LinkedIn Posts.

More to come.


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A New Chapter

On April 15, 2016, I’ll be leaving the University of Maryland Medical System. My home for seventeen years, it’s been my privilege to work with a skilled team of web developers, designers and content creators. I’m proud of our accomplishments, which early on placed umm.edu as a leader among hospital websites. I wish them continued success.

As for me, I’m moving into the consulting world. There are many hospitals and healthcare-related organisations struggling to find the right path for web, mobile, social and other connected technologies. I can guide them make the right decisions based on their resources and strategic goals.

But first I need to update my own web presence here at ebennett.org. Look for a new site in the next few months.

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The Physician Transparency List

5starblacksmallBack in 2009, I created the Hospital Social Network List. A resource to encourage hospital adoption of Social Media, it started with 150 hospitals and grew to over 1500, with links to over 5000 social media sites. The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media now owns and manages the list.

The Physician Transparency List has the same goal – Encourage hospitals to publish patient comments and ratings for each physician in their organization. I expect to see the same rapid growth we saw with social media.

Questions? Check out the FAQ

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Selecting the right Content Management System

Presentation at the 2014 Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit


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A Plan to Fix Google Editorial Content. An #OccupyGoogleMaps post

Hospital systems have struggled with Google editorial content for years.

It’s the problem of inaccurate information on a multitude of Google listings. This includes wrong phone numbers, names and addresses which cause problems for patients, visitor and staff.

Now the problem has expanded. What was once limited to Google Maps now shows up in auto-generated content on Google+, Google Places and worst of all, Google search results.  None of this data is sourced – in fact it’s presented by Google as accurate editorial content.

Recent articles have detailed the issues. For background, I recommend reading:

The goal of this post is to suggest solutions that:

  • Acknowledge that Google will not change its “No Customer Service” business model. They won’t be hiring thousands of humans to take our phone calls or respond to emails.
  • Are appropriate for large, complex organizations like hospitals, universities, government agencies, Fortune 500 firms, etc.  Not your local dry cleaner or pizza shop.

Four Ways to Fix The Google Editorial Content Problem

1. Google must display the source of their editorial content. This allows us to track down and fix  erroneous data.

2. Make it easier to claim ownership as an organization. For example, my hospital system has over 100 physical locations. 500+ program names, and over  1,000 affiliated physicians. All of them come to me when Google gets it wrong.

3. Automatic ownership of the numerous current  listings based on metadata unique to the organization. Some examples using my hospital system include:

Unique Name – Any listing that uses “University of Maryland Medical Center”,  “Greenebaum Cancer Center”, “Maryland Shock Trauma”, and dozens of others.  It has to be unique.  There are many places across the country called “Childrens Hospital” and “St. Joseph Hospital” which couldn’t be automatically claimed.

Unique Phone Number – This could be a single phone number or an entire exchange. At my hospital we use 410-328-XXXX. Any Google phone listing that begins with “410-328” should automatically be owned by us.

Unique Domain – We have over twenty websites in our healthcare system.  Any listing that uses umm.edu, umgcc.org, umms,org, etc. are automatically ours.

Unique Location – We have over  100 street addresses, and most are completely owned by us. For example 22 S. Greene St., Baltimore, MD 21201 is our main hospital. Any listing with that address is ours.

4. Automated updating of Google listings. Google currently uses a clumsy process with web forms and spreadsheets. A better way uses a tool already in place at large organizations – the Web Content Management System

For example, once Google agrees that UMM.EDU is the official website of my hospital, we could embed metadata to feed our Google listings. Information would include:

  • Official name
  • Address
  • Contact phone number
  • Email address
  • Geo coordinates for map pins
  • Descriptive text for Google listings
  • Links to images, approved logos
  • etc.

Using inheritance rules, we could provide different metadata for each of our departments, and custom information for each physician.

Google would need to provide a structured data framework for each field in Google Maps, Places, etc. plus the ability to create tags unique to our industry.

If Google sets this up, they would:

  1. Offload responsibility for accurate data to the organization in question
  2. Have a single “source of truth” for all Google products
  3. Enable the organization to manage 1,000’s of records from their own website.

This only works because large, complex organizations (the ones having problems with Google data) are also likely to have content management systems for website management – making metadata control possible.

What’s Next?

I was contacted by Google last month about this problem, followed by  several conversations with one of their representatives. They claim to be working on a solution and wanted my ideas. I provided everything in this post.

I want your suggestions. Comment on this post or email your ideas to me at FixGoogle@EBMail.org and I promise they will be shared with Google.

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Zurich Healthcare Symposium

My presentation at the April 9, 2013 conference



The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media

HIMSS White Paper Social Media in Healthcare: Privacy and Security Considerations

33 Charts – A blog by Bryan Vartabedian, MD – Pediatric Gastroenterologist at Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine

Price Waterhouse Coopers Social Media “Likes” Healthcare

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Does your hospital allow or block access to social media?

UPDATE – The survey is now closed.

Note – this post was originally published on Ragan’s Healthcare Communication News Reposted with permission 

This new survey by Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media wants to find out so it can prepare a white paper and toolkit based on the findings.

By Jessica Levco | Posted: November 7, 2012

Hospitals have a disjointed attitude when it comes to accessing social media.

Ed Bennett, an advisory board member for Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, bemoans the “blocking versus unblocking debate” at many hospitals that can pit the marketing department against the hospital board, or its IT and legal departments.

“There are a lot of hospitals that invest money and resources into their social media sites to reach their communities, but then they block them for their staff,” Bennett says. “It tells the staff, ‘We don’t trust you.’ It sends the wrong message.”

Moreover, he says, it seems to discredit social media as a communication platform.

“It’s just like saying, ‘Yeah, the telephone is great, but we’re not going to give you one at your desk because you’ll talk to your friends all day.’ We’re just going through another cycle.”

Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media is trying to address the issue by conducting a survey. Bennett, who is the chairman of the employee access task force, is leading the efforts.

In the online survey, each hospital communicator is asked whether his or her hospital opens or closes social media access for employees. The survey takes about five minutes to complete and is open to any hospital communicator.

So far, 130 people have responded. Ideally, Bennett is hoping for a sample size of 400. At this point, there isn’t a deadline for closing the survey.

Once results are final, the team will create a white paper and a toolkit to help hospital communicators make the case for unblocking social media.

Bennett wants to see which social media sites are getting blocked the most. He’d also like to know whether the blocking of social media is an IT, HR, or compliance issue. This information will give him a better sense of the obstacles that communicators are facing.

The white paper is expected to be about 2,000 words, featuring the voices of five to 10 people who are also working on the project. The toolkit is intended help hospital communicators to respond to certain departments that are blocking social media. Both the white paper and toolkit are free.

Lee Aase, director of Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, says this survey is an example of the kind of contributions it wants to make within the health network. By banding together, MCCSM wants to tackle these types of issues hospital communicators deal with.

“By gathering the most data, it will help us understand the reasons why employees are blocked from accessing social media,” Aase says.

To take the survey, click here.


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A New Home for the Hospital Social Network List

On July 21, I announced my decision to archive the Hospital Social Network List (HSNL), asking readers to provide information for a final update in August.  Today, I’m delighted to announce that HSNL will in fact continue with a new name and a new home.  It’s moving forward under the auspices of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media (MCCSM), and will be part of a larger Health Care Social Media List (HCSML)

How did this happen?  The short answer is, of course, “social media.”

Social media has provided new and very real connections. Social media is how those of us committed to using these platforms in the service of health and health care have met and learned from one another over the past four years.

By the time my first version of HSNL went live in January 2010, the #hcsm chat founded by Dana M. Lewis had been attracting participants for a year.  Other health care chats would soon emerge to meet needs specific constituencies within our industry (e.g., Phil Baumann’s #RNchat).  Beginning in 2008, Twitterati were meeting one another IRL (In Real Life) at Mark Scrimshire’s HealthCa.mp un-conferences.

Healthcare social media received a major legitimizing boost when the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media was launched in July 2010. This has been especially true for its use by hospitals, organizations that have historically been resistant to innovation.

It’s now 2012 and the environment for health care social media is much more hospitable. Today’s senior management understand that social media platforms are essential tools for communication among and between providers, patients, and caregivers.  As a result, the number of hospitals using at least one social media platform has increased significantly – so has data management for HSNL.

My decision to move the location and maintenance of HSNL to MCCSM was a no brainer. Click here for a post by MCCSM Director, Lee Aase, about future plans. Highlights include providing online tools that will transform it from a static list to one with greater functionality for users and visitors alike.

Again, I’m delighted to migrate my manual labor of love to an organization I respect with a leadership team of friends as well colleagues.

As for my plans, I’m focusing on what I view as the next challenge that’s already here for the health care industry: opening access to social media tools, especially as hospitals shift to becoming accountable care organizations. Plan to read more here about Open Access Task Force in the coming weeks.

Is your hospital already on the HCSML? Click here to update your information via MCCSM.



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The Final Update

After a long run, I’ve decided to archive the Hospital Social Network List. The final update will be published at the end of August.

Additions and corrections must be received by Friday, August 17, 2012. The list will remain available as an archive, but no changes will be made after this final update.

Thank you for participating – it’s been fun. I’ll answer any questions in the comments.

UPDATE – July 23, 2012
I’ve had several questions via Twitter, email and the comments below, so I’ll answer the main one here:

Why are you shutting down the list?
This wasn’t an easy decision, but there were several factors leading me to this choice:

Time – Maintaining the list was a manual process, and took more time as it grew. I wanted to automate the process, but never found a programming partner.

Passion – The last update was in October, 2011, almost ten months ago. I used to do updates every month, but over the years maintenance became a chore and updates lagged.

But the most important reason is:
My goals have been achieved. The purpose of the list was simple – make hospital leadership pay attention to Social Media and take it seriously. When I started the list in 2009 Social Media was a sideshow, something to fear not embrace. The list was a tool for hospital Web, Marketing and Communications staff who wanted to change that perception.

Things are different now, and I believe the list had a part in that transformation.

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Hospitals, Social Media and Compliance

My presentation at the AAMC 2012 Compliance Officers’ Forum


Notes and References:

Price Waterhouse Coopers
Social media “likes” healthcare, From marketing to social business.
Full study and charts

Primary Reasons for Visiting Professional Online Networks
Society for New Communications Research Study

Employee ExpectationsWhen IT Policies are Ignored

Doctors Active in Social Media

Staff Policies and Guidelines
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