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There are thousands of people online this very moment who are working hard on sorting out how to make the most of a life that has been affected by illness and disease — their own or as caregivers. Tens of thousands. Being a caregiver isn’t easy and walking into the brick wall known as diagnosis is even harder and more life-changing.

For example, Dan Krueger and I, Chris Abraham, have been helping Halyard Health (née Kimbery-Clark Heathcare) engage and message patients and caregivers since 2009 when we produced a social media influencer and blogger campaign to message thousands of online influencers on the dangers of HAIs (Healthcare-Associated Infections) in the form of central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, and ventilator-associated pneumonia.

The campaign was amazing because everyone who is chronically ill or at risk is vulnerable to HAIs, including people with cancer, the immunocompromised and folks with conditions that result in hospitalizations like asthma. Our campaigns didn’t include products, but were earned media informational campaigns: information on how to prevent HAIs, about handwashing, issues with call phones, with neckties, with the curtains separating beds and even the evil doorknob.

All we needed to find is everyone who would benefit from a) learning how best to keep themselves and their lovedones safe and b) have the platform to propagate such useful and easily-operational, easy-to-follow and share, information. And share, and share, and share.  It was a cakewalk and taught us that even the most common-sense hygienic information isn’t common sense when one is in the grip of other more important things like the mortality associated with a life-changing diagnosis or the burden of needing to live your life for another for the foreseeable future.

Being a caregiver or being ill or having a chronic condition is a full-time job. And, unlike motherhood, babies are only babies for a few years and at home for eighteen. Chronic and developmental diseases can be and often are a lifetime commitment, be it from birth, as the result of an accident, or at end-of-life. The pamphlet they give you at the doctor’s office isn’t remotely what people want and need: an instruction manual. No only on how best to take care of another or oneself, but also how to learn to decompress, relax, adapt and commit for the long haul as close to gladly as possible.

Until now, in big pharma and the world of healthcare and healthcare devices, there has been a lot of fear of lawyers. There’s fear of the responsibility that healthcare companies have to reporting each and every thing that they learn to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). To the point where these companies, associations, and organizations have and had been afraid of their own shadows, unlike the carte blanche, anything goes, associated with the magical world of being a mommy blogger!

Wired published Social Media Influencers Finally Come to … Medicine yesterday about Boston-based company Wego Health and their web-based platform that introduces pharmaceutical firms, medical device manufacturers, hospitals, and insurers to relevant social media influencers.

I’ve been doing that for over a decade, first as employee lucky number 13 at New Media Strategies, then as partner and c0-founder of Abraham Harrison, and finally as founder and principal consultant at Gerris Corp — since 2003. While Wego Health has 175 influencers, there are thousands upon thousands of people online who are talking about what ails them — right now.

And don’t worry that your particular company, product, service, association, or organization is too niche for an online social media influencer marketing campaign — Internet rule #34 states if it exists there is a community of it. Come reach out to me and my team at Gerr.is and we’d be happy to help you launch something both powerful and meaningful by connecting you to everyone you need to know online.

Feel free to own the yacht but hire a crew if you’re not yet seaworthy. If you get my drift and want to adopt the yachting lifestyle yourself but either don’t have the mad sailing skills yourself, don’t yet posses a world-class crew, and don’t know yet where to go, then you should give me a call or reach out me by email — so I can help you pilot your vessel now, in the tranquil blue-green shallows of the Caribbean, as well as in the roughest seas and into — as well as out of — the storm.

If you’d like to chat more, call me at +1 (202) 869-3210 Ext 0001  email me, or feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me.


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Chris Abraham

About Chris Abraham

A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and advisor to the industries' leading firms. He specializes in Web 2.0 technologies, including content syndication; organize search engine optimization (SEO), online reputation management (ORM), content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.

2 replies to this post
  1. Chris is right. Healthcare needs social media influencers. They can do some of the heavy lifting around awareness, adoption and engagement that others in the industry are unable to do at all — or do well.

    Patient thought leaders and influencers are one of most underutilized assets in healthcare today. It’s a key reason we launched WEGO Health Experts — and why more healthcare companies are beginning to recognize the power of the authentic, credible and trusted voice engaged and empowered patients bring to their social networks.

    WEGO Health Experts is a new on-demand, digital matching platform. We launched in February, which is why WIRED referenced the 175 influencers who had created profiles at the time the article ran. Our network of vetted patient influencers actually exceeds 125,000 — a network that has taken 10 years to build.

    So Chris is right on this score as well. There are tens of thousands of people online talking with their peers and sharing valuable insights and information. Our goal now is to get them actively working with healthcare companies so their influence can impact the biggest challenge the industry faces, which is getting more people actively engaged in managing their health and health care.

    • Thanks for the comment! I guess you found my mention. Welcome to the Thunderdome. I would love it if my partner and I could get on a call and learn more about you some time soon.

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