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Social Media, Storytelling, Risk & Reward: Canada’s 1st Live Stream Kidney Transplant

By: Helen Powers

On April 12 we hosted a presentation by St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton staff who took us through the planning and implementation process of a unique approach to public education. This communication campaign reached 36 million people, surpassed all strategic objectives and left our event audience inspired by the hospital’s creativity.

Hosting an actual transplant surgery on Facebook Live held risks but also the opportunity to raise awareness of St. Joe’s role as a national leader in kidney and urinary care, to educate the public about kidney health and to show the vital need for organ donations.

Infographics, pre-recorded interviews, videos, and a website were used before, during and after the live stream. Comments from viewers were answered by the surgeons while they worked, creating spontaneous and authentic two-way communications.

The engagement around the world was remarkable with 3,000 comments during the two-hour operation, 17,000 website visitors, 15,000 views of the educational videos, and media coverage across Canada. One of the project collaborators, Trillium Gift of Life Network, had 48 new online donor registrations that day and doubled their social media impressions.

To align with the hospital’s values, this communication platform focused on education as the compelling reason for a novel approach. For an amazing behind-the-scenes look at this very successful campaign, we thank Agnes Bongers, Director of Public Affairs, Alexandria Anderson, Public Affairs Specialist and Dr. Darin Treleaven, Medical Director of Transplantations, all employees of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.