Social Media Health Network

Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care

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Posted by Erika Lovegreen (@elovegreen) · Jul 16, 2014

Erika Lovegreen - Patient/Caregiver Scholarship 2014

I must confess, as a professional in social media in healthcare, there are many days I want to throw in the towel. Every time that happens, there are two other times that I want to pick it back up, whirl it around in the air and celebrate what I do. I am introducing social media into the geriatric end of the industry.

My journey to social media in healthcare is far from the norm. 

I was never really interested in this industry and honestly questioned why some people were. My dream was to be a journalist. I was bright-eyed and in my mind, on the way to the Today Show desk sitting next to Matt Lauer. My hunger for telling news came from personal life experiences that included being a student during the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings and losing my Mississippi home during Hurricane Katrina (all true by the way). I thought sharing the news was the only way of storytelling. I was very wrong.

After college, I spent years working in the news industry as a producer. That’s when I was first really exposed to social media and it quickly became my favorite part of my job. I got to churn out information faster than we could get it on the air, not to mention always be in the know.

When Medical Facilities of America (MFA), Virginia’s largest skilled nursing and rehabilitation company, found me, there were a lot of unknowns. From my perspective, I was 9 months pregnant. Yes, you read that right and not looking for a new position.

MFA admitted social media was new to them and even questioned where the position should report (Marketing, Human Resources, IT or elsewhere). The idea of setting the standards for social media for a skilled nursing and rehabilitation company was so exciting. For the first time, my attention was focused on changing the future, not just sitting in front of a camera talking about it.

In order to do this job, I've had to immerse myself into the world of improving the lives of our elderly and found out just how amazingly wonderful the people I work with are. 

Social media and caring for our nation’s aging population seem worlds apart. What I love about my job is finding ways to connect the two. Explaining what I do is not easy. Most people around me are skeptics. They don’t see social media as having any value in this business and unfortunately assume our aging population does not have much to look forward to. Bottom line, who benefits more from their world being expanded than the elderly. Why not? Social media makes it completely possible! It is a gateway for activity that does not have physical demands.

Participating in Social Media Week at Mayo Clinic will serve the greater good because I can continue to influence the shifting digital culture in the skilled nursing & rehabilitation arena (my company is preparing to launch 40 facebook pages for all our locations in VA and NC).

There are not many social media professionals in this part of the industry- barely any in fact. My unique background as a journalist, along with working in an area not associated with social networking provides prospective that will enhance the event. My goal is to gain knowledge that will help me advance the ball in the geriatric side of the industry.

Questions about the contest or the voting process? Click here.

SM Scholarship 2014

AChampney, Alison O'Brien, Mark Tubbs and 6 others like this

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lmerritt (@lmerritt) · Jul 16, 2014 · #

Social media is the future of senior care and our national brands are barely dipping their toes into the water. If given the opportunity to learn and grow I am confident that Erika will put her experience and drive to good use and quickly blossom into an industry pioneer. She is a top notch candidate!

Erika Lovegreen likes this

berrytm (@berrytm) · Jul 16, 2014 · #

Having worked with Erika in her previous role, I can attest to her enthusiasm for all of social media's capabilities. This arena continues to develop, and Erika's drive and determination to make social media a prominent part of healthcare communication, for both patients and staff, is exciting. This opportunity would definitely benefit both Erika and the other attendees of the event.

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Jackie Hergrueter (@jhergs) · Jul 16, 2014 · #

As Erika so eloquently states, most do not put social media and senior care in the same sentence, however, I think there is enormous potential. Specifically, in assisted living facilities, for folks who might not have the ability to communicate with family regularly due to physical or distance restraints, there soon will be a way. I have worked alongside Erika in a professional setting, and have to say, she is one of the most driven and passionate individuals I've ever had the pleasure to meet. She's top notch, and when given opportunities to learn and grow her skill set, she will never shy away. Erika would be a great ambassador for her company, and for her commmunity.

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Tputt (@tputt) · Jul 16, 2014 · #

Great story, Erika. You are right. WHO is better served by Social Media than the elderly and those who care about them. Great way to stay connected and expand their world.

Erika Lovegreen likes this

milesc (@milesc) · Jul 17, 2014 · #

I have the pleasure of knowing Erika from several different avenues in our lives. As past co-workers, colleagues in a community service group, and as a friend, I can confidently say that Erika would be a tremendous asset to this conference. Her excitement for the new changes at MFA as well as her new role will bring a contagious energy to the conference that will grasp the other attendees making everyone eager to learn. As stated in her essay, Erika comes from a diverse background and one that has not solely been focused in social media so for her to have the opportunity to learn more about this industry from professionals and other colleagues would not only be a personal benefit but would benefit her company as they begin this new venture into social media.

Erika Lovegreen likes this

Chance Craft (@chancecraft) · Jul 17, 2014 · #

I have had the pleasure of partnering with Erika to work on several different projects. She is a top notch professional who is adamant about creating a culture of caring for the elderly population. I could not think of a better candidate for the Social Media Week scholarship than Erika. While I know that she would enjoy the event, I also know that the wheels in her head will be spinning a thousand miles an hour on how to take all of the information in, and then bring it back to MFA for the good of our residents.

Loni Bier (@lmkort) · Jul 18, 2014 · #

Erika is an amazing young woman who will work tirelessly in promoting social media as a tool for bettering the lives of the geriatric community. She puts her heart and soul in all that she commits to and thus I feel strongly that she would make an excellent candidate for this scholarship.

zmz likes this

Mark Tubbs (@mtubbs) · Jul 18, 2014 · #

Erika has brought a new excitement to MFA in her current role. While we are early into our social media experience at the corpoare level, Erika has provied sound adice and guidance. As a reslut, she is telling a story about our company and industry form the perspective of a company that cares about our patients so that we can care for them.

Erika Lovegreen (@elovegreen) · Jul 18, 2014 · #

Thank you all for your kind words of support. I hope my work can empower our patients and employees to participate in social media. Our industry has so much to look forward to and I am humbled to play a role in its future.

Alison O'Brien (@alisonobrien52091) · Jul 18, 2014 · #

Having worked closely with Erika, in a digital setting, I can say without a doubt that she would be an active and enthusiastic attendee! I truly believe in social media expanding the lives of senior citizens and my mother (84) is a perfect example. I created a Facebook account for her and she checks it multiple times a day. Quite often she's the one who starts the conversation with, "did you see on Facebook that...." My daughters (ages 27, 23 and 19) are her "friends" while my sister's daughters (16 and 20) chose not to "friend" her - it was my recommendation that she be on the receiving end of friend requests when it came to her granddaughters and she is totally cool with the decisions they made.
Please choose Erika Lovegreen for this scholarship as she will put her learnings to great use!

Steve Noel (@stevenoel) · Jul 24, 2014 · #

Erika as usual your thoughts and ideas are inspiring! I know your impact on MFA, the elderly they serve and on social media in general will be strong and lasting. Best wishes in your new role. This is a great article!