Implementing a Radiology Department Blog

June 26, 2013

VIDEO: Cincinnati Children’s is creating a department-specific blog to connect with and educate patients. Matt Hawkins, MD, discusses the blog’s prep and planning.

Patients don’t fully understand radiology’s role in healthcare, and they might not have the right forum for asking questions about medical imaging.

The solution? Create a radiology-specific blog with content dedicated to medical imaging.

“We want a way to connect with our patients meaningfully rather than just at the check-in counter or with our blind piece of paper from our radiology report,” C. Matthew Hawkins, a pediatric radiology fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, said in an interview.

pediatric radiology fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. - See more at: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/voice-recognition/podcast-improving-natural-language-processing-error-rates#sthash.Z0UoG7jt.dpufpediatric radiology fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. - See more at: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/voice-recognition/podcast-improving-natural-language-processing-error-rates#sthash.Z0UoG7jt.dpuf

Patients also have a ton of questions - particularly in a pediatric setting - so a blog can offer relevant information about major public health topics such as radiation dose.

“We feel like we need an outlet to inform the public to tell them what we are doing to lower dose,” Hawkins said.

Cincinnati Children’s is in the process of implementing this department-specific blog, which will be supplemented by posts to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The department has spent months planning and preparing content, and officials will monitor readership data once it’s live this winter.

Regularly updated content is a critical requirement for a successful blog, officials said in a report on their efforts presented at SIIM 2013. So to prepare for the launch, the department took great pains to plan content before going live, with as much as month of content ready at the launch. For example, they are developing interviews about publications and meetings, posts about new technology, entries about their department programs and information about radiation safety and other subjects of special interest to patients and parents. They also set up a video production studio to shoot and edit video content, which will be a bulk of the blog’s content.

The department created a social media content committee with representatives across the department to plan content, while a governance committee will determine guidelines and processes for posting. A major challenge is making sure the blog is sustainable, Hawkins said, noting that often social media efforts fall flat without the proper buy-in and planning.

Hawkins and his team also wanted to make sure the blog was as easy as possible. Delivering content takes time, so they wanted the process to minimize the time spent on it. Hawkins noted that the department will monitor data from the site, such as page views, visitors and clicks from other social media platforms.