Periscope lets users broadcast glimpses of their lives. It’s similar to Snapchat’s stories feature, except it’s live, more interactive, and has no time limits. Twitter bought the platform for $100 million in January 2015 to compete with Meerkat, its live-broadcasting predecessor. Periscope hit 10 million users this summer. The app syncs with your Twitter account and sends you alerts when someone you follow is broadcasting. If you catch the feed live, you can like and comment in real time. Otherwise, you can watch the recording for 24 hours after it was posted, without the interactive elements.
A few hospitals and health systems began testing Periscope last summer. The rise of apps such as Periscope is both a challenge and an opportunity. Mayo Clinic—unsurprisingly—is a frontrunner, with 3,100 Periscope followers (versus more than 1 million Twitter followers). Mayo Clinic used the app to broadcast a tour led a tour of historic sites and artifacts at the organization’s headquarters in Minnesota earlier last year where Mayo reported that the tour went well, with 466 live viewers and nearly 5,000 hearts (likes).
Last year, Dr. Timothy Miller, an orthopedic surgeon at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, livestreamed his repair of a patient’s torn Achilles tendon. During the operation, Miller walked viewers through what he was doing and answered questions from the audience. An Ohio State University spokesperson told MedCity News that about 170 people tuned in and out of the broadcast during in the 40-minute livestream and more than 800 more people watched replays during the short period it was available after. One big surprise for the team: most viewers weren’t physicians but rather were members of the general public.
Dr. Timothy Miller of Ohio State University streams a surgical procedure on Periscope.
Health care communicators who use Periscope can create a visual buzz by showing a glimpse into (some of) what happens in your hospital or practice. Consider these three ideas:
- Interviews. Followers love to see other people and hear their perspectives. Use your hospital’s Periscope account to broadcast short interviews with a doctor who is pioneering a breakthrough procedure, a nurse who has gone above and beyond, or a patient who had an exceptional experience at your facility.
- Tours. Periscope can provide followers with a “sneak peek” of facility upgrades you’ve been touting, a new wing slated to open next month, or your redecorated pediatric floor boasting bright, cheery colors. Provide a brief tour of your labor and delivery area to share with OB-GYNs whose patients will be cared for at your hospital.
- Events. Shoot video of special occasions and gatherings at your facility so those who can’t be there in person can still share in the festivities. Setting up for fundraisers, entertainment, groundbreakings, and award ceremonies are celebratory occasions you can include on Periscope.
One advantage of Periscope is that your livestreams won’t be edited, so time and budgetary constraints are practically non-existent. People want raw footage that provides an insider’s look into the everyday workings of your facility, staff, and patients. However, Periscope’s transient nature makes them difficult to promote and remarket. This means that engagement must be almost immediate, changing how the content is promoted and posted. The fleeting nature of the feeds also creates an exciting opportunity for savvy health care marketing experts. The videos tend to feel fresh and intimate, giving organizations and providers a unique opportunity to connect directly with an audience.
How do you think Periscope can be incorporated into health care marketing?