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#hcsmca: The Future Beckons

October 29, 2014

By Pat Rich with Shirley Williams and Colleen Young

#hcsmca Vision: Driving positive social collaboration for better health and health care.

  • Is the above statement a vision for #hcsmca that resonates with you?
  • Is it a vision that provides the emotional and strategic underpinning to allow the community to build on existing strengths and grow over the next few years?

 These are the questions we are asking you, the #hcsmca community, as we complete this phase of a journey of reflection of #hcsmca’s purpose and future that began almost a year ago. When these and other questions are answered to the satisfaction of the community, we believe #hcsmca will have a strong organizational base to allow it to continue to flourish. 

headshot Pat Rich

Pat Rich

The questions we are asking now are very different the types of questions posed in a Dec. 2013 post – #hcsmca: Is yesterday’s Future Ready for Tomorrow – when I (Pat Rich) asked whether the model of #hcsmca remained relevant to the community it had grown to serve.

The post prompted tweetchats at the beginning of this year (Jan. 8 transcript) in which the #hcsmca community gave a resounding ‘yes’ to the main question I asked and then looked at what was working well and what could be improved. See #hcsmca: Taking Stock at 4 Years for a summary of feedback you shared and an outline of next steps.

As a result of those discussions, Shirley Williams, #hcsmca founder Colleen Young and I completed a process with volunteer advisory members to develop a vision and mission for #hcsmca.

We recognize that, like all successful organizations, even a virtual, volunteer-based organization such as #hcsmca needs to have collectively accepted underpinnings to survive and to continue to grow. We need a clear understanding of who we are, what we are doing, and how we are going to achieve those goals.

To help provide guidance on the vision for our  community, the #hcsmca vision-mission advisory members were invited to describe

  1. What success for the community would look like in 2017,#hcsmca avatar
  2. What the purpose of the community would be at that time,
  3. How the community would deliver on this purpose, and
  4. What is the value/benefit of the community.

We received many thoughtful responses, and from these responses Shirley conducted an analysis to identify key themes and common threads, which Colleen and I reviewed. From these responses we have crafted a draft vision and mission statement for consideration of the broader community.

The draft vision – a short statement that accurately reflects the aspirations of our community – is what you see in quotes at the beginning of this post. The draft mission statement – a pragmatic statement on our reason for being – has been crafted to read as follows:

#hcsmca Mission

The #hcsmca community is an inclusive network for all Canadians who are passionate about health and health care.

The community’s mission focus is to facilitate communications, provide a central hub of social health information, support innovative and collaborative solutions to improve health and health care delivery.

The networked #hcsmca community discusses, researches and problem solves current health care ideas, challenges and opportunities. The community leverages its diverse knowledge pool, social media and other digital collaborative tools to facilitate an open forum to share perspectives, best practices and new ideas

The #hcsmca is a community of respect, inclusion, diversity and openness.

The value and benefit of the community is access to a diverse network of people with a vast collective wisdom to support ideas, solutions, information , research and know-how.

Although #hcsmca geographical focus is Canada, the community has a global reach.

headshot Shirley Williams

Shirley Williams

Vision and mission statements are not easy things to do right, especially if they are to capture the aspirations and dreams of the type of forward-looking thinkers who spend time contributing to #hcsmca. Shirley deserves kudos for using her organizational expertise to take the initial thoughts from almost two dozen leading #hcsmca participants and synthesize them into one statement.

But we realize the statement needs to be one that resonates with the larger community. So on Nov. 5 at 1pm ET, the focus of the #hcsmca chat will be to get your feedback on the vision and mission statements.

Following this feedback, Shirley, Colleen and myself will fine-tune the vision and mission, and provide more detail on the final framework of the principles that will underpin our community moving forward.

Whether you are a regular participant on #hcsmca, a past participant, or just an occasional visitor, we encourage you to join the Nov. 5 chat and help crowd-source the future of Canada’s premier volunteer social media health network.

  • T1  Is the vision for #hcsmca the correct one? Does it resonate with you?
  • T2  Does the mission statement reflect #hcsmca’s reason to exist?
  • T3 Does the mission statement capture the key value of the community?

If you can’t make the chat or want to use more than 140 characters, leave your feedback in the comments of this blog. Comments will be included in the final analysis and contribute to our crowd-sourced vision, mission and future.

You can read the transcript of the November 5 #hcsmca chat.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2014 2:09 pm

    Here’s the link to a summary of responses received from volunteer advisory members through a survey asking them to envision #hcsmca in 2017.
    I’ve also embedded the link in the blog post above.


  2. November 2, 2014 6:09 pm

    Hey Colleen,

    I really like both the short and long vision statements. Well done! This is all impressive.

    Due to compromised health, and in particular serious cognitive impairment, I’ve rarely been attending hcsmca or other chats. Through trial and error, I’ve come to realize I can’t always fully understand at the speed of social media what i’m reading. When my brain does seem to work, I can come up with a thing or two :-)

    What i’m doing instead is trying to tweet (mostly RT) any healthcare issues on my feed which I think may be of interest to the hcsmca community. What I don’t know is if the way i’m working my participation is helping or just clogging up hcsmca. When I read the 2017 survey responses, it seems what I’m doing fits in with that. If it doesn’t though, I hope someone lets me know.

    I misunderstood the 2017 responses as current so I had more thoughts but they’re irrelevant at this point I think :-) Gah!

    All the responses and ideas were very impressive. A lot of forward thinking and planning.

    The leaders on hcsmca are all highly skilled, experienced, and progressive. I think that stands hcsmca in good stead going forward. People like me can help to support the efforts and add when we have something valuable to contribute. If i can be of help in a non demanding way, please don’t hesitate to tweet me or let me know. Unfortunately I have an illness which compromises my abilities too much and it’s variable & unpredictable day to day. I’m unreliable due to health limitations, which is disappointing, but I do like to contribute where I can.

    Please keep me posted. I’ll always support any efforts to improve or just keep talks going to facilitate better healthcare in Canada. I’m so sorry this is so long.

    Liked by 3 people

    • November 3, 2014 9:46 pm

      Carrie, thank you for taking the time to post. I have always valued your contributions to the #hcsmca stream and community. The speed and disordered nature of tweetchats can be challenging. Thank you for understanding of the spirit and vision of #hcsmca and recognizing where and how you can add value to the collective knowledge.


  3. November 2, 2014 9:41 pm

    An aspirational Mission Statement: Congrats! What a lot of great work.

    However, I humbly submit it could be stronger in the:
    ‘what can/should be expected from #hcsmca-ers to (continue to) build and sustain this mission’

    As with anyone who’s hosted, I know what effort and care and time and energy Colleen puts into this community.

    That which is so wonderfully described in the Mission Statement requires a whack o work.

    Just sayin’. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 3, 2014 9:49 pm

      I agree Kathy. Aspirations needs fuel and elbow grease. Only with a collective sustained effort and specific commitments from individuals and organizations can an #hcsmca vision and mission become a reality. To be determined…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. November 3, 2014 6:03 pm

    I have the misfortune of having a conflicting meeting so I can’t really participate in the chat on Wednesday, (except maybe with furtive glances at my phone!).

    First of all THANK YOU to the three of you for taking this on. I do have a couple of questions:

    For the Vision, what is the difference between social collaboration and collaboration? Does this really mean virtual or digital collaboration? Or somethings else entirely? I think that needs to be sorted out.

    Also, are we only driving collaboration? or are we driving innovation, change, improvement? That’s an open question is my mind. Is our vision to offer a vehicle or vessel for change, or to actually drive change.

    That same question gets pulled into the Mission. How much is our focus is about action and how much is about being a more passive central communication hub. I personally would like us to move more into an action/active/advocacy role rather than being the vessel. This may be completely unrealistic but I feel like we should aim high — after all, who better than us to make change happen, perhaps with experiments and prototypes, and then applied through the #hcsmca network.

    Anyway, I hope this offers a point of debate for the chat!

    I love all the other stuff about being inclusive, diversity etc. That really suits us now and aspirationally!

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 3, 2014 6:05 pm

      Sorry that last post kind of mis-identifies me with an incomplete name and incorrect URL!


      • November 3, 2014 9:50 pm

        I’ve corrected the link associated with your name in the previous comments Robyn.


    • November 4, 2014 8:57 am

      Robyn, great catch. What is social collaboration? Collaboration by its very nature is social. I have a propensity for underlining the social connection, collaboration and relationship building of the digital world.

      Good question: Is #hcsmca driving digital collaboration only? My vote is no, not exclusively. Take for example your monthly meetups @eveningrounds and other #hcsmca in person meetups (organized and spontaneous).

      I like your attitude of aiming high. To set our sights on action, however, we need many structures that are not (yet) in place. See Kathy’s comment and my response above. Once the mission has been decided, then the questions become who and how?

      Liked by 1 person

      • November 6, 2014 9:40 pm

        Hi Robyn,
        I’m not sure if you’ve had a chance to review the transcript yet, but you’ll be interested to hear that we had quite an interesting discussion when I raised your point about the inclusion of “social” and social collaboration. Additionally see Shirley’s note below.


  5. November 5, 2014 9:04 pm

    Congratulations on forming a great mission statement Colleen and Shirley. Keep up the fantastic work

    Liked by 2 people

    • Shirley Williams permalink
      November 6, 2014 5:09 pm

      Thank you Sunny for taking the time to comment. Pat is also our partner in crime navigating this exercise. It been great working with them and the community.


    • November 6, 2014 9:41 pm

      Thanks Sunny and thank you for your contribution.


  6. Shirley Williams permalink
    November 6, 2014 5:06 pm

    Again, I want to thank the #hcsmca community for a very energetic and passionate discussion about our vision and mission. Just wonderful!! There was a lot of discussion around the use of “social”. As I read through the tweets, it appears that the use has been interpreted in the context of social media and being with people which is true.

    I would also like to provide another layer that was not discussed and that is from the view of socialization. We had received alot of feedback regarding using the community for research or pilot for solutions. In the change management world “socialization” of proposed solutions is key to success when implementing change. Is our community an obvious stop to get that socialization feedback. I thought I would put that out there……

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 6, 2014 9:44 pm

      Shirley, I don’t completely understand what is meant by “socialization of proposed solutions”… and “socialization feedback.” Can you please elaborate or share a link where I can read more about this usage of socialization?


      • Shirley Williams permalink
        November 6, 2014 10:11 pm

        Socialization usually occurs after the development of a concept. The concept or prototype is taken to key stakeholders for their feedback. It is like a focus group but this group has a bigger stake in the ultimate solution. Furthermore, you would go back to these stakeholders a number of times throughout the pilot and implementation to ensure alignment and to uncover any possible challenges before going public or broader audience.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. mikenstn permalink
    November 6, 2014 6:45 pm

    I too want to add my kudos to Colleen, Pat, and Shirley for all their efforts. Developing vision and missions statements are difficult at the best of time. Doing so as a volunteer, for volunteers, adds yet another layer of complexity.

    Recognizing the value of Colleen, Pat, and Shirley’s contributions, I am reluctant to offer criticism; somehow, it seems somewhat ungrateful. I debated all day whether to comment or not and finally decided that I should participate in the process, whatever the nature of my comments.

    My major concern is the length of the mission statement. I think that the mission statements should be short (ideally one sentence), easy to remember, and memorable. Check out for some examples of what I think are effective mission statements.

    Given our social media focus, I think that having a mission statement that is tweetable would be particularly fitting. It demonstrates that we can walk the talk.


    Liked by 1 person

    • November 6, 2014 10:01 pm

      Mike, thank you for your comment. Constructive criticism is always welcome as is your participation. I completely agree that we should strive for a shorter mission. The text above in the blog post reflects the responses we received from the advisory group. During the Nov 5 chat people pointed out redundancies and suggested deletions to shorten it. In synthesizing all of the feedback, we’ll have to consider a variety of criteria such as inclusion, clarity, purposefulness as well as brevity. Then the community will help us perfect it.

      I’d also like to underline that, while #hcsmca relies on volunteerism, we are experienced professionals volunteering our expertise and time.


  8. mikenstn permalink
    November 6, 2014 6:54 pm

    During our tweetchat this past Wednesday (Nov 5th) Dr. Dempsey suggested that we consider widening our scope to include all digital health technologies, not just social media. My initial reaction was that digital health is too broad. As I thought about the matter over night, I wondered whether perhaps our mission has more to do with engagement and collaboration than it does the technology used to achieve it.


    Liked by 1 person

    • November 6, 2014 10:02 pm

      Furthermore, the media and technology are ever changing. Social, engagement, collaboration hopefully remain a constant value.



  1. Unveiling #hcsmca’s new Vision and Mission | Colleen Young

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