‘Viral’ Takes On New Meaning at Emanuel Medical Center

TURLOCK, CA (May 21, 2010) – Emanuel Medical Center is spreading important health information virally – through social media.

“Emanuel is on Facebook, Twitter and has e-mail and text messaging services,” explains Pennie Rorex, Emanuel’s vice president of corporate communication and marketing. “It’s the way people communicate today, and with these services people can sign up to get just the kind of information they want.”

The text message service, for instance, will send users texts on hospital and community health events and users can choose to get additional information on women’s health, men’s health or children’s health. Subscribers may receive up to four texts a month.

“Our new email service is similar,” Rorex explains. “People can subscribe to receive general Emanuel news, but also choose a number of additional options, including cancer information, women and children’s health information, heart health information and many others.”

“It’s all designed to help people stay healthy.”

The hospital’s Twitter and Facebook pages alert people of upcoming events, give health tips and provide real-time news, pictures and video. It’s all designed to help people stay healthy, Rorex says.

The benefits of these instant communication methods were illustrated during American Heart Month in February, when Rorex emailed a press release about the event to the local media as well as to Emanuel’s board members, including Turlock’s Bob Field.

Field, who had a heart attack three years ago, immediately forwarded the message to about five dozen people in his email address book, urging them to pass the word to anyone they knew who might benefit from the tests.

“Because I had a heart attack, I’m more cognizant of these things and really believe screenings can save people’s lives,” he says. “It made sense to me to send it to the people I know, and I’m sure a lot of them passed it on to their friends. It got up and rolling and a lot of people in Turlock knew about the screenings pretty quickly.”

That’s a perfect example of the power of personal social networks, Rorex says.

Subscribers to any of Emanuel’s electronic information services can unsubscribe at any time, and Emanuel provides the services for free. Some cellular providers charge for text messages, Rorex cautions, so users should check with their providers.

To sign up to receive information, click any of the following links:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email – visit the link and select health topics of interest
  • Mobile – Text “EMANUEL” (no quotation marks) at 88788 to subscribe to the hospital’s Mobile Health Digest

Emanuel Medical Center is operated by the Covenant Board of Benevolence on behalf of the Evangelical Covenant Church. The board also operates Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago.

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