Hospital Social Media Bandwidth Demand is Heating Up

Evolution, evolution, evolution. Word of mouth gone digital…and the result, a CIO’s worst nightmare: SQUEEZE MORE IN THE PIPES!

BizReport.com reported in April, 2010 stats that we already know intrisically…7% of all business Internet traffic is going to Facebook and 10% of bandwidth used in a business is getting chewed up with YouTube. Makes sense because YouTube has become the number two search engine below Google.

Let’ look at the Facebook stats:

  • More than 400 million active users
  • 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook

WOW…so, we know that people are accessing Facebook at work in some capacity. Let’s look at another statistic that I found interesting:┬áThere are more than 100 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices and people that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice more active on Facebook than non-mobile users.

Well…if you can’t get it on the company computer then you can pull out that iPhone, Blackberry, Android, etc. to access you favorite social media site. I have already tackled the reality of why hospitals and organizations should open up the pipes to Social Media, so I wanted to look at what are the hesitations for corporate decision makers. What are the top two arguments for not opening up the pipes to Social Media: 1) employee productivity and 2) bandwidth.

Infrastructure is a huge issue. Think of it this way. I have a house that was built in the 1920’s. The plumbing in the house was probably re-built in the late 70’s. I have a half-inch pipe servicing my house…so when someone is the shower, you better not flush the toilet or turn on the washing machine. And…do not plan on taking two showers at one time or consider doing the ole Navy Shower routine: turn on water and rinse, turn off water and wash, turn on water and rinse.

So…using this analogy…think of bandwidth in the same regard. Lots of hospitals have the same position when it comes to IT infrastructure. Legacy wiring, switches, etc. to support an ever increasing demand for bandwidth. So imaging opening the flood gates to all social media and other resource intensive web based, community platforms. There is only so much a hospital or organization can support given the current infrastructure. So with the demands of increasing bandwidth needs and access to information…there are policies and procedures that have to be put into place to decide how to allocate resources. The Department of Defense just recently opened up the pipes to Social Media but put into place strict guidelines for use…a “Consistent Policy.” “There has to be since 47 million of Americans visit Facebook daily, which is nearly as many who watch TV daily (55 percent),” states Neilsen.

So how do we get hospitals’ and organizations CIO’s and IT Departments on-board with opening up the pipes for Social Media’s:

  • First – Build a team to assess this demand. This includes heads of marketing/pr, IT (CIO), finance (CFO), and service area department heads.
  • Second – Build an advisory team built of individuals on the ground level. These are the individuals actively accessing Social Media as brand ambassadors.
  • Third – Build policies and procedures for implementing Social Media usage on all levels. Whether it is a patient, visitor, employee, or leadership…all users should have guidelines for usage.
  • Fourth – Assess current infrastructure and how the increase in demand of data will affect infrastructure and costs associated with opening the pipes.
  • Fifth – Implement a strategic plan for who and when can access Social Media platforms. This is based on access and cost to access data.

Bandwidth costs money, whether if it is the amount of data transfer, the physical pieces of technology that manage the pipes, or the human capital accessing the networks…time and usage is money. So what type of investment should we allocate to this growing demand for information?

Remember the one stat that I mentioned earlier, one that I am sure is making a CIO happy: there are more and more people accessing Facebook on mobile devices. Is this out of necessity because corporate pipes have been locked down or is the mere fact more and more mobile devices have access to fast data and applications. This is diverting the bandwidth issue but raising the problem of whose mobile device is being used to access the Social Media’s? Is the company footing the bill for the device or is it a personal device; regardless, people are accessing Social Media.

People want access to stories and they are connecting with stories via social media’s!