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Unbreaking Health Care, One Tweet at a Time

by Carissa Caramanis OBrien, Director of Social Media

Spending the past few days with my brand new colleagues, I was inspired to hear over and over about how this team is committed to fixing healthcare to work as it should. And while this helped me realize how true to its vision, mission and culture the company really is, one particular culture trait resonated as I think about why I made the choice to join athenahealth now.

We are Teachers and Learners

I’m a big believer in social media as a tool for both learning and teaching. Yes, it’s a marketing and communications channel, but it’s true power is so much broader than that. Social media is one of the most powerful means for gathering and sharing insights that can transform how an organization connects with its communities of interest. If you haven’t already, you’ll soon see that athenahealth is already very data-driven, and the deep insights our platform enables are truly exciting. But it’s the culture of teaching and learning that’s baked into this organization that makes the power of those insights naturally bubble to the surface.

As athenahealth’s new Social Media Director, I’m thrilled to have those insights at my fingertips, and I’m energized by the chance to put them to work for a mission that’s true to my own. Having held many roles, personally and professionally, I’ve experienced a broken healthcare from nearly every perspective—that of the patient, patient’s family, caregiver, device manufacturer, drug maker, hospital strategist, marketer, advocate and social communicator—and through it all, I’ve endeavored to be part of the solution. But never before have I felt more empowered to make healthcare work as it should. At athenahealth we will unbreak healthcare, and with social media, we will learn and teach, and keep learning, and keep teaching, as we help get our communities of physicians, hospitals and patients there.

Embrace the job that needs doing

I’ve had the great pleasure and honor to have worked with so many of the world’s largest health brands—from pharma, med device and biotech, to hospitals, hospital systems and healthcare non-profits—and while I taught them all about digital communications and social media, I also learned a lot along the way. And so, the leap to athenahealth is about a new lesson, that I will both give and take, and it highlights my belief in the power of a more connected healthcare. At athenahealth, we have the ability to create and share content and highly unique insights that will not only resonate, but have a deep impact for our customers and the broader community. We want to have meaningful conversations with those who are driving change in their own corners of healthcare, and we’re committed to doing that through athena’s social media channels.

For a while now, we in social health have talked about great concepts and brilliant thinking. Now it’s time to drive the action that will convert that thinking into impact. So, I’m embracing the job that needs doing. We will strive to create content that educates, entertains, and engages. We will share lessons on leadership and deep insights from our network. And we will listen and learn from the community, responding to our customers’ needs, and getting better at every turn. Together, we will make healthcare work as it should.

I have a great foundation from which to build. In addition to the blog and amazing wealth of content throughout the organization, athena is active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. There’s so much in the works, and I couldn’t be more excited to peel back the layers and show you more.

Fixing healthcare will require a lot of listening and sharing, and we are uniquely positioned to do that really, really well. I hope you’ll join me on this new journey, because athenahealth walks the talk. It didn’t take me long to see it. Now I’m strapping up my boots. Please come along.


Carissa has spent most of her career helping healthcare organizations forge connections and create fiercely engaged communities. She has led global marketing communications, social content and community strategy for many of the world’s largest healthcare brands. As a certified EMT, Carissa is also proud of her ongoing role as an advocate for EMS, having worked in various roles within the field for fifteen years. Find @CarissaO on Twitter or LinkedIn

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