Lee Aase and Mayo Clinic

Posted on April 30, 2009 
Filed Under Social Media

Was quoted in an article by Chen May Yee of StarTribune.com on Lee Aase, who does an amazing job at Mayo Clinic with social media.

“Mayo turns to social media to reach out to potential patients”


A few years ago, Lee Aase was just another flack for the Mayo Clinic, issuing press releases on cue and calling news conferences for doctors to present carefully scripted messages.

These days, Aase is a walking, talking, blogging, Twittering, Facebooking, YouTubing force who’s blasting Mayo into the social networking world faster than you can say “Mayo Brothers.”

Corporations across the country, from Starbucks to Dell, are using social media — free online sites where users connect with thousands of others — to reach customers. But hospitals have always been conservative in marketing to patients. And Mayo, more than 100 years old, may be the most conservative of all.

Yet out of Mayo has come Aase. Officially Mayo’s manager for syndication and social media, he has emerged a rock star in that space where social media and health care marketing overlap.

A grandfather from Austin, Minn., Aase now travels the country to speak at conferences and runs his own virtual Social Media University, Global (SMUG), a website with courses such as Blogging101. Allina Hospitals and Clinics in the Twin Cities invited him in to show them how it’s done. He was interviewed by Shel Israel, a Silicon Valley media guru, for the upcoming book “Twitterville.”


By the way, StarTribune.com site really suffers for failing to link out to the websites it mentions and not providing the Read Article In A Single-Page button.

Here is my original response:

I stumbled on Lee Aase’s presentation on Patient/Provider partnerships at Slideshare.net while researching on a two-day customized training for media relations and marketing staff of a private hospital in Malacca.

Lee was very helpful and sent me his slides. He is an amazing guy. I think as a social media evangelist he is doing great stuff for Mayo.

The only way to “push” for social media adoption is to do extensive training, training and training and his idea to set up S.M.U.G was a stroke of genius.

By promoting the myriad free resources on the net that hospitals can leverage on to connect and engage with patients; with interns planning stints in Rochester; with doctors having to learn “webside manners” online – he is fishing where the fish are.

Branding and marketing has moved online in a big way. And it cuts across all industries.

In 2009, here are the facts: If you want to connect with people – your prospects, your future customers/patients, your future medical personnel, the media (that’s us) – you need to go where the people are and start conversations and engage with them on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, ie. via social networks, blogs, podcasts, photo- and video-sharing sites and patient-led support groups and forums. You need to be found by the Great Reputation Management Machine: Google search.

CarePages.com and PatientsLikeMe.com and the whole medical tourism phenomenon are examples of Healthcare 2.0 that could not have happened without the net.

We really are in the middle of a revolution and Aase “gets it”. Unfortunately, some people in our profession — journalism — saw it coming but just ignored it. Tech journalism got commoditized very quickly. I was there. I saw it happen. The websites I wrote for blinked off the radar.

Medical care, to use Friedman’s overused word, is being flattened. Private hospitals know it. They can run from it or embrace it. On our end of the world, I found Bumrungrad in Thailand was another great example of medical tourism that is competing on a global scale. Look at all the coverage they are getting

That’s the future? It’s already here — right on our backdoor!

Hope this is helpful.



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