TORONTO, Nov. 13, 2014 /CNW/ - Reaching you with important health messages, faster. That's what public health organizations are doing with social media. Putting a different spin on the word viral, Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) today named the award recipients of its Public Health Social Media Challenge.
The Public Health Social Media Challenge, the latest initiative in the Infoway ImagineNation Challenge series, was designed to support public health organizations in a quest to harness the power of social media to address public health issues and concerns. Teams with the most infectious social media campaigns were eligible to share awards and incentives.
"In today's digital world, there are many ways to deliver a message," said Fraser Ratchford, Group Program Director, Consumer Health and Innovation, Canada Health Infoway. "Supporting innovative ways to communicate important health information to the public is what the Public Health Social Media Challenge was all about, and all teams inspired us with their creativity."
A panel of judges, including communications and public health experts, was tasked to review all of the entries to select their top three choices as well as one campaign they deemed as the most 'innovative.'
While all 29 teams displayed their social media savvy and succeeded in furthering their missions, the outcome of the judging resulted in the following award recipients:
Second Place: $20,000 award
Sudbury District Health Unit - Childhood Immunization
The Childhood Immunization campaign promoted awareness, exposure and education among parents with respect to childhood immunization.
Third place (Tie): $10,000 award
Canadian Blood Services - GiveBlood Mobile App
The GiveBlood Mobile App campaign increased the number of blood donation appointments booked electronically using the GiveBlood Mobile App – in an effort to increase the amount of blood available for Canadians when they need it.
Third place (Tie): $10,000 award
Parachute - #StopTheClock
The #StopTheClock campaign increased awareness of preventable injuries as a public health burden, and reflected on the social, physical and economic consequences of injuries in the Canadian population.
Judges' Award for Innovation: $10,000 award
Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit - Talk Sex with a Nurse
The Talk Sex with a Nurse campaign met the educational needs of men who have sex with men and encouraged the adoption of safer sex practices.
"As the power of social media continues to grow, so too does the power it presents as an important communications tool for health organizations," explained Eve Adams, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and MP Mississauga-Brampton South. "Seeing public health organizations embrace social media to extend their messages to improve health in Canada is a step in a new direction, and it's my pleasure to extend congratulations to the five award recipients in the ImagineNation Public Health Social Media Challenge."
Teams that entered the Challenge early were invited to take part in one of two interactive Expert Forums hosted by Infoway, where social media, communications and public health professionals provided live feedback on participants' social media programs to help strengthen their campaigns.
About the ImagineNation Challenge Series
The Infoway ImagineNation Challenges were unveiled in 2011 with a vision to inspire, provoke, and promote innovation in health and health care in Canada. Although each challenge is different, they all share the same ultimate goal: to improve quality of care and the patient experience using digital health.
In addition to the Public Health Social Media Challenge, the e-Connect Impact Challenge is currently open and runs until March 31, 2015. This Challenge is encouraging health providers to digitally connect with their patients and each other.
Infoway works with leading Canadian health organizations to help shape the Challenges through expert advice, encouraging participation, and promoting the Challenges and the results. These organizations are:
About Canada Health Infoway
Infoway helps to improve the health of Canadians by working with partners to accelerate the development, adoption and effective use of digital health across Canada. Through our investments, we help deliver better quality and access to care and more efficient delivery of health services for patients and clinicians. Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government.
Public Health Social Media Challenge – Quotes from Award Recipient Organizations
"We are always looking for new and innovative ways to build awareness for public health issues. One of the goals of the condomTO campaign was to combat condom fatigue and the stigma around condom use. We succeeded on social media by building a healthy conversation around condom use and engaging with our audience leading up to the big reveal and after. We are grateful to Canada Health Infoway for this award and recognizing our efforts in this important area." – Dr. David McKeown, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health (Toronto Public Health)
"This challenge allowed those of us working in public health to take a daring step outside of our usual comfort zones and really take a chance on some more modern and online marketing options. What a great way to use modern techniques, be creative and drive home a very important message." – Todd Robson, Manager, Communications and Strategic Support, Sudbury District Health Unit
"To make lifesaving gifts possible, we need to be in the spaces where our donors are. That's why developing the GiveBlood mobile app was an important accomplishment this year and has given our busy donors an easy and flexible way to book and manage their blood donation appointments on the go." – Mark Donnison, Vice President, Donor Relations, Canadian Blood Services
"We are honoured to be a recipient of this ImagineNation Challenge award. At Parachute, we are using new digital tools to raise awareness about how we can #StoptheClock on preventable injuries – the leading cause of death for Canadians age 1-44. Through rewarding initiatives like this and awareness programs such as Parachute's #StoptheClock social media campaign, we are helping Canadians prevent injuries, and live long lives to the fullest." - Louise Logan, President and CEO, Parachute
"We are thrilled to be recognized for our innovative work with social media. We believe that using social media locally has helped us to reach a hidden and hard to reach population of men living in Simcoe Muskoka." – Jillian Fenik, Manager, Sexual Health Program, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
To learn more about Canada Health Infoway's ImagineNation Challenge series, visit www.imaginenationchallenge.ca.
SOURCE: Canada Health Infoway
For further information: Dan Strasbourg, Director, Media Relations, Canada Health Infoway, Tel: (416) 595-3424, email@example.com