I recently interviewed Steven Christiansen, M.D. for my podcast “Russ and Randy.” Steve is an ophtho resident at the University of Iowa Ophthalmology department. Before starting residency training, he created an eye related health website (www.EyeSteve.com) and promotes himself through social media, specifically Twitter (@EyeSteve).
The episode “Interview with Steven Christiansen, M.D.” is hosted on iTunes.
Website and Twitter
Just before starting residency, Steve realized he was about to embark on a 30-40 year career in Ophthalmology. Why not create a digital space now and see how it grows? (Personally, it’s a fantastic idea and I can not wait to see what develops in the next 5-10 years!)
Steve’s issue – how to promote the content?
Steve started promoting his website content through Twitter (@EyeSteve) and now receives over 12,000 page views per month!
In addition to the usual search engine optimization (SEO), Steve has created a significant following on Twitter to increase the exposure of his website. Persistent use of Twitter, consistent publications and quality writing on his website has allowed Steve to create this in such a short time.
In the interview, Steve recalls how the University of Iowa recognized his fluency with Twitter. They asked for his help. Unlike other departments who have successfully implemented social media to connect with their patients, Iowa wanted to keep in touch with alums and residents specifically using Twitter.
In the beginning, no one had a Twitter account, but it has fast become an important communication tool among faculty, alum and residents and is especially helpful when attending a meeting, such as the AAO. Members are able to share information, such as:
- Scientific information (“Great talk on XYZ”)
- Logistical information (“What time do the buses stop?”)
- Social (“Who’s meeting at the bar?)
From no use to a powerful communication and sharing tool.
Incidentally, Steve published, “Twitter at the 2014 and 2015 Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Ophthalmology”, Ophthalmology, Vol. 123, issue 8, p1835-1837, published online August, 2016, www.AAOJournal.org.
The article analyzes Twitter use between the two meetings, again in a demographic naive to Twitter. The AAO regularly maintains a Twitter account during the meetings and through the year!
How do you use the same Twitter content for both your colleagues who are doctors and patients? On one hand, how does information about the latest in scientific knowledge (discoveries, treatments, meeting attendance) relate to patients? Also, how do posts about a new optical shop or a new EMR system, intended for patients to promote your practice, appeal to your colleagues?
Steve has a great explanation why this works for him.
There actually is some cross-relevance. Patients get better educated about their health and about their provider. Colleagues become impressed with connecting with patients and using a digital platform to communicate with patients!
Follow Steve @EyeSteve
Many thanks Steve!
All the best,