There is one big unanswered question that will be paramount for hospitals. At this time, the members of specific circles can’t be seen by the public. You can put a contact into a circle for patients with diabetes, for example, and no one can see that you’ve done that. The public can see who your contacts and followers are—but that is true of Twitter and Facebook. Still, if there is ever a change and the membership of those circles becomes public, hospitals simply will not be able to use that feature and still comply with patient privacy laws. That’s something to watch as the beta trial progresses.
A handful of hospitals and health systems, including Bon Secours Virginia Health System and Sharp Healthcare have already set up Google+ accounts, even though Google has warned non-personal pages will be deleted. Healthcare social media guru, Ed Bennet has already started to compile a list of these Google+ early adopters.
If you’ve had a chance to try Google+, drop me an email—I’d love to hear your experiences and your take on its plusses and minuses in general—and it’s potential for healthcare in particular.