How To Collaborate in Hospitals – A Use Case for Yammer

 Modern hospitals exhibit many elements of modern corporations. They are nontransparent, hierarchical, and heavy.

A description of how modern corporations came to be, shows how, unlike hospitals, corporations understand tools for collaboration are vital.  They are the communication backbone and ensure people are on the same page. There are certainly flaws to existing systems, and e-mail still functions as the primary form of internal communication. Newer forms of communication software applications that enhance internal communication, facilitate workflow between different teams, and create a sense of corporate identity are being developed.

Yammer is called the “Twitter for Companies.“ It was launched in 2008 a couple of years ago by David Sacks of PayPal and Adam Pisoni with the goal of building a web-based tool for internal communication in startups, SMBs and cooperations. Yammer is powerful. It comes with a variety of mobile applications and a well-designed web interface. It let’s you manage yourself and your co-workers in groups, send direct messages and follow each other – much like Twitter.

Indeed, the basic structure of the tool is very similar to Twitter.  Rather than choosing another social network like Facebook to model, the open structure of Twitter structure is appealing for businesses. It allows previously unknown people to connect and learn from each other.  Further, new connections and information sharing happens immediately.

By enabling you to follow people in your corporate network, Yammer let’s you obtain knowledge and insights from different departments and perspectives. This is very similar to medical school’s multi-disciplinary learning approach. Yet once doctors are in practice, the cross-departmental information sharing fails to happen. With Yammer, medical specialists would be able to share their experiences, thoughts, and questions in real time with all their peers – both inside and outside the hospital walls. Interaction would be immediate. This is social networking at its best, yet tragically, not many are doing it.

Even television is catching on. In a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy,  doctors were giving live status updates from the OR to another medical professionals in another hospital. Their intent was to document a live operation so that others could learn from their experiences. They ran into problems during the procedure, and a life-saving-tweet from another professional saved the patient’s life. Fictional, but certainly not far from the truth, or the potential of the truth.

While Twitter has its limitations with respect to security, Yammer is secure, scalable and highly customizable. Yammer for your research group? Yammer for the OR? Yammer for your ward? No problem. To clarify: we are not affiliated with Yammer. Yet how can we not promote such great, simple services? There truly isn’t another comparable system out there for hospitals to use. Sure, there are the SAPs, Siemens and others offering such services.  But while they charge hospitals hundreds of thousands of dollars, Yammer costs $5/user/month.

We would love to see a hospital give Yammer a try. It would allow us to cross the borders of traditional communication, and move to an alternate and potentially higher form of it.  We would love to hear your ideas and thoughts in the comments section.

Disclosure: This post is part of a series or sponsored posts MedCrunch is bringing to its readers.



  1. Hi Lukas, this is a great article!  I am a sales rep at Yammer and just wanted to let you know that your pricing for Yammer is off.  Here is a link to our pricing page:

  2. Thanks Darren! Glad you like it. We’ve updated the correct pricing terms! Best! Lukas (MedCrunch)

  3. Hi Lucas.  We actually have many hospitals using Yammer.  I put together a document that discusses real life concerns that hospitals have shared, existing communication challenges, specific Yammer use cases, business value hospitals can derive, as well as some information on ROI.  If you would like, I’d be happy to share it.  Just let me know where to send it.

  4. Hi Jill, I recognize your name from the Yammer Customer Network!  I posted the document in the Healthcare Social Connection group, I will be sure to mention you so it shows up in your feed.

    If there are any other readers out there that would like to join a group where popular healthcare topics are discussed by healthcare professionals around the world, please email me  It is a great way to crowd source, share ideas, best practices and alternative treatments.  

  5. We use Yammer at Texas Health Resources for all of the use cases described above. One feature (which may be similar to the concept of Circles in Google+ but again designed for the enterprise) are Communities. These are extensions of the platform beyond the main company network. These Communities can include community physicians and strategic partners who, though not part of the formal workforce, are key stakeholders with whom we collaborate.

  6. Hi Matt,

    Yammer is an internally facing communication tool.  It is designed to provide employees a secure place to collaborate and share information within their organization.  

    Many of the healthcare clients we have brought on board have explained that being HIPAA compliant is more of a management issue than a set of criteria a product or solution needs to meet.  

    We do have some functionality in place that addresses concerns about what content is posted.  When you have the full version of Yammer you have the ability to set up Usage Policies to explain appropriate use of the tool.  Many of these usage policies give ideas of what content is ideal to post on Yammer, they then refer back to the company’s social media policy regarding what shouldn’t be posted.  We also have the ability to set up Key Word Monitoring which can alert Admins when any flagged content is posted.

    One example a customer shared with me is:  What if Enterprise Social Networking came out before email?  Would email have ever been implemented?  The fact that the information we share on Yammer resides within our own company is much more appealing than a solution that allows our employees to share anything they want with people outside the company.

    I think the bottom line is that regardless of the communication tool you’re using: Email, Cell Phones, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Yammer etc. Employees need to be fully educated about what content is appropriate to share on what medium.  If the employees adhere to the rules, then the employee will be HIPAA compliant. 

  7. Hi Darren, my team at my hospital is looking at yammer, can you please send me the hospital information you described above at batline(at)

  8. Since Yammer is delivered as software as a service (SaaS), and hence all the data resides on Yammer’s (Microsoft’s) servers, what assurance do we have that Yammer/Microsoft employees won’t have inappropriate access to HIPAA-covered medical data?  Our employees know what data is appropriate for sharing on what media within our current technology — we host most of it internally so we know where it is, how secure it is and who has access.


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