The #BEAM4healthContest contest spearheaded by Lygeia Ricciardi & Chuck Webster was a fun way to learn & highlight patient empowerment through information and technology
By Lygeia Ricciardi (@Lygeia)
In our roles as Social Media Ambassadors for HIMSS, Chuck Webster (@wareFLO) and I teamed up to run a contest celebrating patient power through information and technology and, at the same time, exploring a new technology.
What We Did
Using blog posts (HIMSS18 Social Media Ambassadors kickoff patient power tech challenge), Twitter, and LinkedIn, we challenged participants (the contest was open to anyone) to create an image celebrating patient power using the BEAM button—a digital smart button you wear on your clothing that lights up like a mini-TV screen. Using an app on your phone you can program the button to show a still image, slideshow, or short GIF movie. The button lets you bring digital communication right into the physical room with you, without the distraction of turning to a phone.
Contestants used the BEAM app to design images, and share them on Twitter. We announced the winner and an honorable mention at a meetup at HIMSS, and made awards including a BEAM button (for the First Place) and some awesome 3D-printed gear made by Chuck (for Honorable Mention).
We had some creative entries—thanks to all who submitted them! First Place went to Twitter user Pink Ranger (@medpinkranger), based in Boston, who submitted a couple of entries. One was a crossword made up of words related to patients, technology, and health:
What really impressed us about Pink Ranger, though, was her animated GIF made from 121 individual JPG images that shows how technology creates a sense of connection in healthcare. In her words, electronic health records (EHRs) “open doors and give us a bigger picture. As we engage more with one another, magic happens.” This is her GIF:
Unfortunately, the BEAM button doesn’t yet enable users to upload and project their original GIFs the way they can display images and slideshows—but that feature is in the works. For now, BEAM users are restricted to using GIFs from a subset of existing ones on giphy.com.
Honorable Mention went to Lisa Davis Budzinski (@Lisadbudzinski), a patient advocate and the cofounder of Central Pain Nerve Center. Her BEAM slideshow rotated to show the Central Pain Nerve Center logo; an image of herself and her co-founder, Rebecca Brandt, illustrating the fiery pain nerve patients endure; and a playful picture of them displaying their pink socks. Pink socks and the #pinksocks virtual community is a grassroots effort related empathy and change in healthcare. (Side note: it always makes me happy to link parallel advocacy and change efforts to leverage and amplify each others’ work!)
We received other great entries, like this one from fellow HIMSS Social Media Ambassador and Janae Sharp (@CoherenceMed), related to health IT and mental health.
Through the #Beam4healthcontest we tried a new technology, celebrated patient power, and connected via social media with some fabulous people with creative ideas.
We also learned that launching a tech challenge just days before the HIMSS conference isn’t the best timing. Although the contest was not limited to HIMSS participants, many of the 40K or so HIMSS attendees were overwhelmed by the task of finding a cup of coffee, never mind downloading an app and designing and submitting a creative message. If we’d started earlier, we likely would’ve had more participation. In addition, we discovered the limitations of this particular technology (as mentioned above, BEAM doesn’t *yet* let you upload a homemade GIF or transmit directly from a social media feed, though both functionalities are in the works). But by definition exploring technologies on the edge means trying what is and imagining what might be in the near future.
So what’s next? Personally, I intend to keep experimenting with BEAM and other digital tools that are new to me, as well as looking for ways they can empower patients and other individuals to be their healthy, best selves. And Chuck is consistently pushing the envelope in technical tinkering and applications to improving workflow!
We are considering running another contest involving BEAM or another gadget that is just out of the mainstream. What do you think? Would you want to participate? If so, what technologies would you like to learn about, and what would make the process most easy and fun for you?