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Ukraine: Public Hospital Pioneers Social Media Usage

Founded in 1798, Dnipropetrovsk Regional Clinical Hospital [ru, uk] – named after Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov –  is one of the oldest hospitals in Ukraine. It is also one of the first state medical institutions to use social media.

The person behind the creation of the country's first public hospital Twitter (@MechnikovaBoln [uk, ru]) and Facebook [uk, ru] accounts, is a tech savvy epidemiologist and blogger Mykhailo Sukhomlyn (@mvsnotes [uk, ru], mvsnotes.blogspot.com [uk, ru]).

However, this is not his first attempt at running a social media account for a state medical institution.

Social media enthusiasts

Sukhomlyn and his wife – programmer Tetyana Cheshko (@tvnotes [uk]) – used to work at a regional sanitary and epidemic department. Both being social media enthusiasts, they set up [uk] the institution's Twitter account, which was used for timely internal exchange of information amongst the department's staff. Mykhailo and Tetyana also admit [uk] that they are frequently approached by Twitter users with health and medical questions.

After becoming Dnipropetrovsk Regional Hospital's Chief Information Officer, Sukhomlyn decided to apply his successful experience there and launched [uk] its social media accounts to share news about the hospital, including events, employment vacancies, arrival of new equipment, etc.

Mykhailo Sukhomlyn (first from the right) and Tetyana Cheshko (third from the right) with medical information systems specialists, photo by Dnipropetrovsk Regional Hospital

In an interview to Dnipropetrovsk TV Channel 9, Sukhomlyn explained [uk, ru] that the administrators use the hospital's account to tweet about the services provided by the institution, while encouraging Facebook uses to discuss their quality on its official page. For instance, one of the first issues raised by the patients included long waiting lines at the hospital.

Other medical personnel at the institution are also using Twitter. Last month, the hospital shared [uk] their Twitter list and encouraged others to follow:

Рекомендую наших лікарів, твітерян-початківців – @Tolubaiev @Oxanalivshits @DrMedvedev @IhorKyrpa @SokolovMD #ff #sledui #раджу

I recommend our doctors, Twitter-beginners – @Tolubaiev @Oxanalivshits @DrMedvedev @IhorKyrpa @SokolovMD #ff #sledui #раджу

Doctors of Dnipropetrovsk Regional Clinical Hospital named after Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov, photo by Dnipropetrovsk Regional Hospital

While their activity may be pioneering for Ukraine, there is an international directory [en] of the most influential doctors on Twitter, which currently contains 1,327 names and is updated on an hourly basis.

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