A not-for-profit health system, Spectrum Health System is West Michigan’s largest employer with more than 23,000 employees across 12 hospitals. Spectrum Health is responsible for providing credible health care information and discussions among their online communities. Taking this commitment to social media, the organization builds trusting relationships and promotes wellness in their communities.


hospitals with a social media presence


hospital employees

24 hr

state-mandated social media response time met

What they did

As an established health care organization, we have a responsibility to be part of the general health conversation, providing credible information.

Michael Yoder Social Media Consultant

Navigating HIPAA regulations to be a trusted source of information

Public-serving institutions such as hospitals need to be a part of relevant conversations and be available on whatever channels patients want to connect. “People are increasingly turning to social media, but there’s a lot of misinformation out there,” says Michael Yoder, Spectrum Health’s Social Media Consultant. “Health care systems must provide trusted information on immunization, flu virus, therapy, ebola, you name it—there needs to be a voice of reason.”

But like in any highly regulated industry, health care organizations are more cautious to adopt new technologies because of rules and regulations like HIPAA. Challenged to effectively serve their community—by answering inquiries quickly, sharing information, and making connections—in a compliant way, Spectrum Health found a solution in the Hootsuite Enterprise ecosystem.

How they did it


Customizing the Hootsuite ecosystem to work for them

By partnering with the best applications, integrations, tools, and resources available, the Hootsuite ecosystem gives global organizations the power of choice, depth of integration, and expertise to scale. This thriving ecosystem is made up of over 100 app integrations, technology partners, agencies, and solution partners.

Understanding Spectrum Health’s digital organizational structure

Michael Yoder and Kristin Coppens, Social Media Specialist at Spectrum Health, work together as a center of excellence, overseeing all communications for a dozen social media contributors across the hospital network. Working with Hootsuite’s Professional Services, their dashboards are set up to mirror a hub and spoke business model, with them at the centre. This lets them monitor all contributor-conversations, assign messages, pull reports, and approve or decline scheduled messages.

Instead of relying on one single vendor to support the organization and entrust security measures, Spectrum Health uses Hootsuite’s ecosystem to handpick the best applications, integrations, and tools for them.

Using Brandwatch and Hootsuite to provide excellent social customer service

For example, Spectrum Health is required to respond to all direct inquiries within 24 hours. But because the dozen contributors across the various hospitals aren’t dedicated to managing social media, Michael monitors for communications through Hootsuite and Brandwatch. Setting up listening streams and notifications via Brandwatch, Michael is notified as soon as an inquiry comes in and assigns it to the correct contributor—for example, the Children’s Hospital answers most pediatrics-related questions.

Hootsuite is great for us. Just this morning I was looking at direct messages and comments, making assignments that notify coordinators at different hospitals. Hootsuite empowers our team to be autonomous and take ownership—without the risk.

Michael Yoder Social Media Consultant

Reporting on success and measuring response times with Hootsuite Analytics

Michael generates Hootsuite Analytics reports to track social media use, community growth and engagement, and customer service response times, such as number of assignments and time to resolve.

Navigating HIPAA regulations by adding Nexgate to their ecosystem

One of the deciding factors in using Hootsuite is the ability to add Nexgate Social Patrol to secure and ensure social media compliance, especially when sharing any patient-related content. By integrating Nexgate across all social channels, they’re alerted of any unauthorized profile changes (e.g. image changes) or inclusions of patient contact information, so they can immediately lock down the channel or adjust for compliance. If a patient wants to further discuss their personal health, they can easily take conversations offline. 

“Before, it was a manual process tolook through all messages and flag for patient contact details, but today, with Nexgate, we can set it up to operate automatically in the background so that we don’t have to worry,” shares Kristin.

The results

With an organization of 23,000 employees and only two people corporately responsible for the whole system, having centralized control is essential. Now with Hootsuite, all of their social administrators are on one dashboard, giving Yoder the ability to track, analyze, and report on the platform unlike ever before. 

  • Responds to inquiries within required 24 hours
  • Remains compliant with HIPAA regulations
  • Engages in social conversations to dispel health rumors and share trusted knowledge
  • Integrates Nexgate HIPAA compliance and security monitoring across every social channel for 12 hospitals

Today, monitoring for compliance can be automated through Hootsuite and partner integrations. This frees up Michael and Kristin to improve strategies, support contributors, and build communities by sourcing and sharing relevant, trustworthy content. They were able to achieve all of this because of Hootsuite’s open ecosystem.

For example, Kristin recently hosted a “Sun Safety” Twitter chat, where she used Hootsuite’s Content Library to pull all questions, answers, and fast facts to sort and publish in the chat. By monitoring the #SunSafety hashtag in-stream, she sourced new questions and comments, fueling the conversation. Keeping everything consistent means that she can do more campaigns like this to engage and educate followers.

Before Hootsuite and even social media, we connected with our patient community by phone and email. Now, we monitor all related conversations from just about anywhere and respond accordingly. Social media is great opportunity to be more aware, to be more engaged, and provide a better experience.

Michael Yoder Social Media Consultant

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