This week we spoke to Andre Blackman about what he is doing in the Healthcare industry. He gave us some insight into public health campaigns he has/is working on as well as what to expect as the Healthcare industry and emerging technologies converge.
Black Web 2.0: So tell us about what you do?
Andre Blackman: Right now I am working as a Health Communications Analyst at RTI International in Durham, NC. This includes doing research and evaluation of public health campaigns and developing programs for federal organizations such as NIH and the CDC. RTI was the organization that did the evaluation for the popular TRUTH campaign – the anti-tobacco ad campaign aimed at youth. We also conduct research and evaluation on campaigns that deal with HIV/AIDS, nutrition, consumer safety and other health communication initiatives for public health.
Black Web 2.0: Nice what are you all doing in the Interactive space?
Andre Blackman: Since recently coming aboard to the company last month, we are going to begin to tackle the digital/interactive/social media space – once of the reasons I was brought on board – right now, these campaigns I am working on are more traditional with paper based surveys, television and print. However, the HIV work I am on right now has to do with online ads in targeted online communities.
Black Web 2.0: That is very interesting can you speak more on that campaign?
Andre Blackman: At this point I think it is just getting underway so not sure I could talk that in depth about it (sorry!) but I can say that it has to do with the hivtest.org website and getting high risk individuals to enter their zip code at the site to find out where the closest HIV testing centers are – last year I did a webinar with AIDS.gov that highlighted the campaign: http://blog.aids.gov/2008/06/reaching-blogge.html
Black Web 2.0: What did you do prior to being at RTI?
Andre Blackman: I was involved in public relations work (focused on social marketing) and most recently at a new media company, working with corporate brands to promote their campaigns online. I was responsible for reaching out to bloggers and giving them social media tools and information to spread the word about various products/campaigns – think of it as digital PR.
Black Web 2.0: What kind of brands have you worked with in the past?
Andre Blackman: Major auto brands such as Volkswagen and Hyundai, the United States Navy, Paramount Pictures….
Black Web 2.0: Looks like you are involved in some other things on your own can you talk about those?
Andre Blackman: Well I am really about helping health professionals, especially in the communications role, to learn and figure out the usefulness of these emerging technologies. This includes social media (blogging, social networks, Twitter, etc.) and helping them to see its relevance in this field. I have a passion for blogging and generally getting the word out on health initiatives through new media – really enjoying conducting interviews with others in the field doing similar work (you’ll see alot of that coming up on my blog Pulse + Signal).
Andre Blackman: I have also recently gotten more involved and interested in the application of mobile technologies in public health – so you have alot of growth in that area occurring all around the world in places such as Africa and Asia (Japan specifically has a ton of mobile usage).
Black Web 2.0: Do you consult on this at all on your own?
Andre Blackman: No I don’t do any consulting on my own, although I have started writing for a blog called HealthGamer.com – I will begin blogging on there about how the gaming world is impacting the health field. I might give a few small talks here and there but nothing major…yet.
Black Web 2.0: What trends are you seeing in the healthcare industry in relation to technology and/or social media?
Andre Blackman: Right now I am seeing that the pharmaceutical industry is taking a hard look into the uses of social media – they want to get a better idea of how to use the tools for engaging consumers. Also the area of EMR (electronic medical records) are a hot topic, especially with the money that Health IT will be getting due to the stimulus package. From my perspective, EMR is an interesting subject, but I am always about educating the consumer as best as possible so that medical complications from issues such as diabetes, obesity, etc are reduced.
Andre Blackman: Regarding social media as a community tool, there are great online communities such as DiabetesMine, PatientsLikeMe, TuDiabetes – who are using the power of new media to bring people together to tell their stories and connect with other individuals going through the same things with their disease
Black Web 2.0: Very cool!
Black Web 2.0: What exciting things do you have coming up that we can keep an eye out for?
Andre Blackman: Well, that blog for games in health (http://www.healthgamers.com/) I will begin showing up on – also, stay tuned for a redesign of Pulse + Signal with more regular content including interviews of interesting people and what they are doing to use new media for health. There is the Games for Health and Health 2.0 conference coming up in the next few months where I plan to cover.
Black Web 2.0: Awesome!
Black Web 2.0: Ok lets get to some “fun” questions!
Andre Blackman: Haha excellent
Black Web 2.0: Favorite music artist?
Andre Blackman: Lupe Fiasco
Black Web 2.0: Most helpful web application you use right now?
Andre Blackman: Does Twitter count?
Black Web 2.0: lol, yes it can be both helpful and distracting
Black Web 2.0: Favorite feed reader?
Andre Blackman: Google Reader
Black Web 2.0: iPhone, Blackberry, or Android?
Andre Blackman: Blackberry Curve (Although Android has got my interest because of its potential application to mobile tech for health)
Black Web 2.0: Best city you’ve visited (or lived)?
Andre Blackman: Hmm…
Washington DC because of its mix of everything (lived there most of my life)
Black Web 2.0: Thanks for participating!
Andre Blackman: Thanks so much Angela for the interview
Black Web 2.0: Np, keep in touch!