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Healthcare Community Engagement Roles Here to Stay

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, April 25, 2012

Over the past few years community engagement positions have been popping up at some of the country's more forward-looking healthcare institutions. Nick Dawson stepped into the new role of Administrative Director of Physician and Community Engagement at Bon Secours Health System two and a half years ago.

While the position started off with a narrow focus, it has evolved to play a vital part at the Marriottsville, MD-based health system. For Dawson and Bon Secours, there is no going back now.

Crafting a new leadership position
Bon Secours created the community engagement role in order to innovate how the health system interacted with patients, employees, and physicians regarding their experience and the organization's offerings.

"When we began, the focus was primarily on a few social media sites with a fairly narrow scope," Dawson says.  "We listened for, and invited feedback while sharing system news and doing some basic online community building. Over time, we've evolved our scope to include, what we call, the meaningful use of social technology—that is, what can we do to affect outcomes and population health, in addition to being part of the patient experience process."

Dawson, who was previously the director of revenue cycle, worked with Bon Secours leadership to create the community engagement role. During the process, they chose the position's wording carefully.

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