#hcsmca made manifest

hcsmcaAttitudes can turn platitudes into vision statements or words to live by.

That’s the alliterative thought I come back to when ruminating on the #hcsmca symposium held in Vancouver two days ago.

As the most solid manifestation to date of a health care social media community that has existed almost exclusively in a virtual world, anchored by a weekly tweetchat, the one-day conference can only be seen as a huge success. More than 170 registrants attended from all sectors of the healthcare world (patients included, of course) and many were the first time IRL meetings (and associated selfies).

The meeting was organized totally on a volunteer basis and the hybrid unconference core of the meeting was based on ideas coming from the hcsmca community itself (at one point, I tweeted – “Hey ma, we crowdsourced a conference”). Thousands of tweets were posted and a live feed allowed those outside of Vancouver to view and comment.

Not that the meeting lacked star power, as it hosted both Stanford MedX conference founder Dr. Larry Chu and director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Lee Aase together on the same panel for possibly the first time ever.

I blogged a few times in the lead-in to the meeting about what we hoped to achieve from all of this:

#hcsmca National Symposium in Vancouver: The Last Waltz

#hcsmca: The Last Waltz (or … Not Last Tango in Vancouver)

#hcsmca: The Not so Hidden Agenda

Whether we succeeded remains to be seen.The continued existence of hcsmca and in what form remains uncertain given the planned withdrawal of community founder and guardian Colleen Young. One of the conference organizers Robyn Sussel made a telling point when she suggested a Canadian organization or institution should step up to support hcsmca in much the way Mayo and Stanford support their successful social media initiatives.

And as for the deliberations from the meeting, many on paper can appear as rather vague statements of general intent.

“Proceed until apprehended” and “power shouldn’t equal respect’ and were the two ideas that resonated most with delegates in voting at the end at the end of the conference, rather than any concrete and practical suggestions for change.

Similarly, some of the best tweets captured what could appear as cute sayings (Colleen’s “We can improve health care 140 characters at a time” comes to mind).

But those of us who live on Twitter and within the (current) 140-character limit know that even short statements voiced as tweets can build relationships, support networks, and create environments that support and make change.

And there is nothing wrong with the conference delegates voicing overwhelming support for the rather vague proposition of including patients in all planning and initiation of social media initiatives involving health if they go back to their respective clinics, institutions or government departments and actually do this.

As I said at the start, it’s the attitude and approach to these ideas and statements that what will count.

So, we will see.

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