Alexandra Tursi

Pinterest Expert Alexandra Tursi

Social Media Strategist Fletcher Allen Health Care

Social Media Strategist
Fletcher Allen Health Care

The mission of Get Social Health is to bring you stories of social media practitioners actively working in social media for healthcare. In guest Alexandra Tursi we have a heavy hitter. Alexandra Tursi is a social media strategist at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, VT.  Alexandra directs the social media program for Vermont’s largest employer, including management of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. She’s responsible for strategy development, tactical expertise and execution, and measurement of social programs.  Her role includes directing social media education efforts internally, managing social media analytics and supporting the marketing and communications team via social media. Alexandra is also a member of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network.

While Alex is a multi-talented marketer, it is her expertise in Pinterest that brought her to Get Social Health as a guest.

We had a great conversation so be sure to listen to the podcast. In preparation Alex also answered a few background questions, some of which we didn’t get around to covering in our discussion. Check out the blog post with her answers here.

Social Media Tip Guest: Our “tipster” this episode is Will Hardison of Fanbase. Thanks Will!

Visit our resources page for more valuable (and free!) resources on social media and digital health:

Social Sprout


Social Media for Fletcher Allen Health Care

Alexandra Tursi Alexandra Tursi of Fletcher Allen Health Care was guest of Get Social Health podcast #005. It was a great conversation that ran so long we didn’t get to all the questions I wanted to ask. She was kind enough to put some time into answering them so I could share them with you.

Bonus questions!

Janet: Talk about working with the C-Suite on your digital and social media efforts – did you have to do some education about social or were they up to speed?

Alex: The C-Suite was open to social media originally. That said, we have done training and education and we also produce a quarterly report that shows ROI.

Janet: What do you see in healthcare social media among your peers – both in general and among other hospital systems?

Alex: I see incredible opportunity! I think Cleveland Clinic has a great strategy and they publish great content on a very frequent basis. We are definitely inspired by them. I think the great opportunity is in thought leadership and expertise. Health care consumers are desperate for information about medical topics. Our goal is to provide evidence-based expertise that people can use in their information-gathering and put into action. Yet, only 11% of healthcare professionals use social media for professional reasons. We need to increase the clinical voice in social media. That is our opportunity.

Janet: What would you say to other hospitals about the benefits of engaging in social media?

Alex: It’s where your healthcare consumers are – and where they will only continue to be in increasing numbers. Start now, build your foundation – it’s only going to get bigger. The benefits are incredible – we see our employees proud to share our social media content, we see patients sharing positive experiences. It is incredible for word-of-mouth.

Janet: What “words of wisdom” would you offer?

Alex: Start small, define your goals very specifically, make a plan for ongoing content creation, identify some preliminary metrics and a process for measuring them, identify and train your team.

Janet: The issues some hospitals deal with daily are ones that our society is still not comfortable talking about openly – suicide, STDs, mental health, chronic conditions and more. Do you think social media is opening a dialog about these issues?

Alex: Yes, as I mentioned it is critical to have an expert voice in these conversations. They are happening whether we participate or not.

Janet: How do you deal with such provocative issues in social media?

Alex: Carefully and strategically. It’s a team approach among our Marketing team and the involved Public Affairs and Clinical teams.

Janet: Have you ever had to deal with a privacy issue online? “TMI” or “Oversharing”?

Alex: No. But we have dealt with patients who have reported negative experiences.

Thanks to Alex for answering these additional questions. You can hear more about her work in podcast number 5.

The Get Social Health Podcast Launch! Episode 1

Janet KennedyThank you for checking out the Get Social Health Podcast. On this first episode I would like to share with you our mission for Get Social Health, what plans are in the works for the podcast, give you a little background on why I think this podcast is needed and also a preview of some of our future guests.

I became an early adopter of social media and am now something of an evangelist for what social media can do to connect people around the world or in your own backyard by discovering like interests, needs, passions and cultures.

In 2013 I was approached by EHR 2.0, a company that does HIPAA compliance and data security for medical practices and hospitals, and asked to develop a series of social media webinars for healthcare.

The sad fact is, less than 70% of registered hospitals in the US are actively engaged in social media. The reasons are many – Time, Resources, lack of understanding of the power of social media and, probably the biggest reason, concern that a privacy law of HIPAA violation may occur.  Through teaching webinars and workshops it was clear that social media in healthcare required a slightly specialized set of skills, knowledge and tools not widely understood and available in the general marketplace.

Podcast Goal: 

My goal for this podcast is to interview the marketing, communications, PR and other team members doing the everyday work in healthcare social media. You’ll hear from physicians, nurses, e-patients, advocates, nonprofits, hospital marketers, writers, vendors and other professionals doing the daily work of engaging, educating, informing and building community.

I hope after listening to this podcast you’ll say one of two things. Either “That’s a great idea. I think I can use that in my job.” Or, alternately “I didn’t know that and I’d like to learn more.” You may think a lot of other things as well but if this podcast can educate, inform or inspire it will be 30 minutes well spent.

Podcast Format:

Speaking of time, let me explain what my plans are for the Get Social Health show format.  This will be a weekly interview show. My guests may be unknown to you but their experiences, ideas and even failures should be a great source of information for you. The interviews will last from 25 to 30 minutes. We’ll talk about their jobs, projects and passions always striving to give you practical suggestions, real life examples and suggestions usable immediately in your work. We will also discuss how privacy and HIPAA compliance has impacted their work.

At the end of the podcast we’ll take a moment for a “social media tip” from another professional. These 60 second ideas have been gathered at conferences, conventions, former or future podcast guests and via the Get Social Health website. You are welcome to join the conversation and send me a social media tip. Just go to the Get Social Health website and look for the “Send Voicemail” tag on the right side of the website.

Each podcast will be posted on iTunes and Stitcher as well as the Get Social Health website, so listen where it is most convenient for you. If you have a recommendation for a guest, I would love to hear it so send an email to [email protected] or leave a comment or voice message at the website.

Looking ahead, here are a few of the future guests scheduled for Get Social Health.

  • My first guest is Dr. Holly Peek, a psychiatrist at Tulane Medical Center and newspaper and television medical contributor. She travels under the Twitter handle @PsychGumbo.
  • Andre Blackman, Digital consultant for healthcare, a Mayo clinic social media committee member and advocate of the #Sustain or Die manifesto.
  •  Ophthalmologist Dr. Isaac Porter will visit Get Social Health to tell us about his video blogging.
  • Alexandra Tursi Social Media Strategist for the Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vermont will be joining me to talk about how she uses Pinterest for her hospital system.
  • Dr. April Forman, who is the Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the SE Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs will share her unique outlook and the use of social media for the VA in her area.
  • Jason Papagan, Director of Digital Marketing for REX Healthcare in Raleigh, NC and System Director for Digital Strategy for UNC Healthcare. They have been making some “Top Social Media Hospitals” lists lately and we’ll be discussing how that achieved that status.

These are just a few of the guests lined up so I hope you are looking forward to hearing them as much as I am to interviewing them.

Thanks for downloading this first mini-episode and I look forward to sharing great healthcare social media content with you in future episodes.