Old Media Meets New at AMA Medical Communications Conference

I just returned from Phoenix where I participated in a panel discussion at the 26th Annual Medical Communications and Health Reporting Conference sponsored by the American Medical Association.  The topic for the panel discussion was "Technology Trends: The Next Generation of Medical Communications".  Joining me on the panel were Chris Haines, General Manager, US News & World Report; Dr. Mike Magee, Director of the Pfizer Medical Humanities Initiative; and Mary Moslander, President and CEO of LIveHealthier.  Moderating the panel was my longtime friend and colleague Dr. Bruce Dan, Executive Director and Managing Editor of The Patient Channel.

I've been teaching at this conference for more than 20 years.  In the past, the focus was on radio, television, and public speaking.  But this year, I think I saw the tipping point.  A younger generation of medical communicators is gravitating towards new media, and even many of my colleagues from the world of traditional broadcasting are turning their attention to opportunities on the Net.  Mary Moslander has launched a successful web site that focuses on women, health and "community support".  It is membership-based and appears to be flourishing.  Dr. Mcgee runs Health Politics, a well produced Blog, and web- based videocast and audiocast dealing with important policy and political issues in healthcare.  Of course, here at Microsoft, I'm reaching new audiences with our own Blog and audiocasts aimed at healthcare IT aficionados.

Television executives at the conference all but admitted that traditional television news broadcasts, both local and national, are all but dying.  The demographics for the audience watching network news these days is age 60, and every year the size of the audience is declining.  The newspaper business is in a similar downward spiral.

But as I pointed out to the audience attending our panel discussion, it's a brave new world.  Each and every one of us now has the power to essentially broadcast, at will, to audiences across the globe.  That desktop or notebook PC you are using puts communication technology at your fingertips that used to require a $100 million broadcasting studio and tower to pull off.  No more!  The power is in your hands.  Of course, the challenge as before is how to monetize all this and build a business model around it to sustain your work.  Some folks have cracked the code on this.  Others are still trying to figure it out.

I guess it was somewhat ironic that Dr. Magee, Dr. Dan and I were on the panel.  After all, each of us grew up in an era of traditional mass media.  But each of us has managed to successfully adapt to change.  We've been able to evolve and embrace all that new media enables.  As I've said before, it's a great time to be in healthcare IT and it's a great time to have at my disposal all of the new media collaboration and communication channels made possible by the digital age.

Bill Crounse, MD  Healthcare Industry Director   Microsoft Healthcare & Life Sciences    

Comments (4)

  1. Anton Zuiker says:

    Bill, I enjoyed your comments on the panel. Right on, I kept thinking as you hit point after point about the many new opportunities from online technologies. Thanks for affirming what I was teaching in my blogging sessions (outline and links at http://www.unc.edu/~zuiker/healthyblogs/).

  2. Thanks to Health IT World for publishing my opinion piece on the role consumers are bound to play in healthcare.
     The article included my definition of the term "Consumer Driven Healthcare", posted recently on this blog and

  3. Dr. Crounse you are so right. It will be a win win for all if only healthcare players and public health experts leverage the right technologies and the powerhouse of social networks and consumer generated communications/messaging to fight disease.


  4. HealthBlog : Old Media Meets New at AMA Medical Communications Conference: A younger generation of medical communicators is gravitating towards new media… that desktop or notebook PC you are using puts communication technology at your fingertips that

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