Communications specialists across the globe demonstrate how evaluating the digital conversation with smart listening leads to improved health communications

GLOBALHealthPR, the largest independent public relations organisation dedicated exclusively to health and medical communications worldwide, announced today the organisation’s first International Healthcare Social Media Summit (IHSMS), set for May 18, 2011 in Washington, D.C. The event will be webcast live to all of the countries represented in the GLOBALHealthPR network, including Australia, at 11:00pm AEST.

In a data-driven presentation based on real-time social media listening in 15 countries, the IHSMS will demonstrate how social media can benefit national and international healthcare organisations. GLOBALHealthPR has developed the right formula for actionable listening, providing participants with an insight into the digital opportunities available for today’s health communicators. Healthcare companies and industry leaders will have the opportunity to interact with, and present questions to, key healthcare social media specialists from select Network countries.

During April 2011, the IHSMS team employed a global listening program to assess the type and volume of conversations surrounding a global health pandemic. Members from GLOBALHealthPR’s network will discuss their local findings and how these translate to a better understanding of the impact of social media on a global scale. The digital team will share what it considers to be the key challenges and opportunities with digital health communications that occur in the host countries.

“While the healthcare industry faces challenges in regards to social media regulation, the GLOBALHealthPR team is uniquely positioned to provide local and global insight based on our specialisation in health care communications,” said John Seng, President of Spectrum, Washington D.C. and Chair of GLOBALHealthPR.

“In our International Healthcare Social Media Summit, we hope to dispel perceived challenges and highlight the opportunities available to all of us through what has become an explosive global digital platform for communicators.”

Exclusive Australian GLOBALHealth PR partner, VIVA! Communications, is leading the shift to digital health communications, by closely interacting with healthcare professionals, health advisors, and health consumers using digital and social media.

“Real-time social media listening is pivotal to effective health communication on a digital platform, and we are excited to discuss and evaluate emerging ideas in digital health communication for the first time with our GLOBALHealth PR partners at the International Healthcare Social Media Summit,” said Mr Paul Jans, General Manager of VIVA! Communications.

“By complementing traditional forms of health communication with newer digital solutions, we are actively listening to healthcare audiences and responding instantly to emerging health issues through our social media platforms at VIVA! Communications.

“Strengthening our understanding of digital health communications greatly benefits national and international healthcare communicators, who can now instantly participate in health and wellbeing discussions, and disseminate real-time information and ideas to the general public,” said Mr Jans.

The evolving Health 2.0 landscape includes digital advertising, citizen journalism and instant record sharing. The advent of e-patient communities and the accessibility of online data are changing the way health companies and organisations communicate with their audiences. Digital communication channels contribute to a new influence paradigm for the healthcare industry.

“Social media represents both the modern day focus group and market for patients and consumers,” said Anthony LaFauce, Director of Digital Strategy at Spectrum. “Online influencers are regularly using social media to present opinions – both good and bad – about companies, projects and treatments, so having a pulse and a foothold is paramount.”

To participate in the IHSMS and for more information, head to