According to Livestream’s “2016 The Year of Livestreaming” report, the landing of the Rosetta space probe on a comet flying through the space was the most watched livestream in 2016. Space.com reports that the live stream attracted 4.1 million viewers.
Does this mean that your medical practice’s live stream will get over four million viewers? No. It won’t. But it does remind us that people dig science and love to watch it. There’s a reason why doctor-based TV shows have been among the most popular since Marcus Welby, MD.
Not sure where to get started with your own live streaming potential? Here are some great examples of medical live streaming to spark your own brainstorming.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital
In August 2016, Phoenix Children’s Hospital became the first children’s hospital to Periscope a live surgery (and still the only one as far as we know). We broadcasted a live pectus excavatum repair of a 13-year-old boy. A pectus excavatum surgery is treatment for a congenital defect in which the chest wall and rib cage are deformed and appear “caved in.” If left untreated, it can impact the heart and lungs.
Two team members and our surgery coordinator answered questions directly on Periscope in a consult room while two others shot the video from the O.R. on an iPad. The setup allowed us to manage the conversation and narrate instantaneously. The surgical team of four doctors and three nurses—as well as the parents—fully supported the live video. In fact, the parents told us that they wished someone else had done this before, because it would have made the decision easier.
Why this is a great livestream: Live streaming takes the “scary” out of health care. The live aspect delivers credibility and transparency, and that connects with patients. Within the first 90 days after posting this stream, 12 patients said that watching the Periscope influenced their decision to have the procedure done at our hospital. Live streaming creates an instant, interactive community. Communicators and executives may be surprised to find former patients, potential patients, family members, clinicians and caregivers often feel comfortable asking and answering questions in real time.
This hospital system in Oklahoma uses its live stream channel to broadcast its own talk show, “OU Medicine Chat.” Each episode has a single topic, geared towards either other medical professionals or lay people, and range anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour.
Why this is a great live stream: The simple format – typically two people in a pleasant sitting area talking with each other – is a great place to start for live stream newbies. The key is to stick to topics relevant to your market, while making them informative and entertaining.
The added value of live streaming this sort of health care chat, rather than recording it for future broadcast, is that you can take questions from your live stream audience. Since you’ll be recording the live stream, you can then continue to use the recording as online content.
Mount Sinai Chamber Music Concert
Four Mount Sinai doctors, who often perform chamber music concerts for patients and staff recently broadcast one of their concerts live on Facebook via its Facebook Live app.
Why this is a great live stream: It reminds us that not every live stream from your medical practice must be specifically about medicine. Most live streams outside medicine are event-oriented: a concert, a sporting event, a rare occurrence. Think about what sorts of events your staff participates in, whether on- or off-site that could be interesting content. Does your practice sponsor a local 5K or sports team?
These sorts of non-medical live streams help patients and potential patients see the people at your practice as well-rounded people – not just medical professionals.
Royal London hospital live streams virtual reality surgery
In April 2016, the online surgical training site Medical Realities was the platform for live streaming a virtual reality surgery performed by Dr. Shafi Ahmed. Dr. Ahmed had previously used Google glasses to stream a surgery so students and other medical professionals could see the procedure from his perspective. In the VR live stream, six cameras were used to immerse the viewer into the surgical arena.
There’s a lot of technology going on here, from the VR to the multiple cameras used to provide multiple perspectives of the surgery. The point here isn’t to suggest your practice needs to copy this idea in every detail.
Why this is a great live stream: It does tap into the interest many people have in watching and learning about medical procedures, regardless of whether they’re medical professionals. Obviously, there are serious legal and privacy issues with the idea of live streaming a patient’s care. But it may spark some idea of what types of care delivery live streams you may be able to share. Check out Medical Realities YouTube channel for more of their VR surgeries.
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
This hospital describes its live video as a “key component of [their] social medial strategy.” They use it to let patients share their own stories, share some procedures and host a chat show, similar to the OU Medicine hospital system’s live stream channel. The hospital shared these metrics from their Facebook live streams:
Why this is a great live stream: You can see from their metrics slide, they’re live streaming a variety of content and formats: patient Q&As, procedures, behind the scenes content. Look through their full slide share, as they also discuss what video tools they use and how they plan content.
Focus on what makes live stream special
When you brainstorm your own list of ideas how your medical practice can use live streaming content, keep in mind what makes live streaming valuable in ways recorded video content isn’t – its immediacy and interactivity. Live streaming is about how to draw your audience into sharing the experience with you.