This week I interview Gareth Presch, founder of World Health Innovation Summit, a new innovative way of bringing all stakeholders together, providing a platform to openly share ideas and discover solutions for a better healthcare system.
Can you tell us some more about the World Innovation Summit. How did it start?
GP: It started with a tweet! That’s how the World Health Innovation Summit started. One tweet to see if people where interested in coming to Cumbria to share knowledge to improve healthcare. Now we’ve reached over 100 countries and during our first event we reached 23.7 million twitter impressions over 2 days #WHISCumbria @HIC2016. Health touches us all and the WHIS provides the platform for everyone and every sector to come together and share information so we all benefit and social media is the perfect way for us to share that knowledge. WHIS is a social enterprise that supports communities in many ways. We run community Summits (Cumbria, Greece, Thailand, London, Sao Paulo etc) and have our WHISKids, WHISatwork and wellness activities all set up via social media to support our communities.
When did you start using social media professionally?
GP: I’ve used social media for many years. I’ve advised businesses in the past on social media strategies and done workshops with NHS Trusts, Charities etc. Social Media is an excellent way to share knowledge. Twitter is excellent for professionals to connect however the real magic for me is Facebook and it’s untapped in terms of it’s potential. 1.3 billion people use Facebook (And it’s growing) – just think of the opportunity to share public health information on a broad scale to improve outcomes for people around the World. I recently spoke at a workshop around SoMe and used the example of groups in healthcare and how we can learn so much from these groups to improve. It’s an excellent way to engage and establish relationships based on the partnership of trust.
Which platform(s) do you enjoy using the most?
GP: I love using Twitter but my favourite is Facebook – last year I had about 300 friends and today I’ve just under 5,000 with over 500 people following me. I love how you can connect with people and get to know them. Instant chat via facebook messenger etc. Another platform that I enjoy using is Blab – we’ve hosted Blab chats and it’s great how we can connect around the World. We have plans to develop these chat’s further. Watch this space!
Which topics interest you? Do you take part in any particular twitter chats?
GP: I’m interested in just about anything that helps people improve their quality of life. From Education, Medicine to sports. My favourite twitter chat would be IrishMed hosted by Liam Farrell – it’s great as it has a diverse audience and a wide global audience. The topics are always interesting (From ehealth to chronic illness).
What advice would you give someone just starting out on social media?
GP: Advice for social media is to give it go and just be yourself. Think before you post and or tweet. Think how you would react to the post before posting and always insure that when you post a message or comment that you are factually correct in what you are posting.
Finally, would you like to share a favourite quote with us?
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
Thanks Gareth for taking the time to share with us your experience of using social media in your work. I expect we will see great things in the future with the World Health Innovation Summit!
Follow Gareth on Twitter @GarethPresch