ClubHouse: The place to be for the healthcare community?

By now, you have probably heard about ClubHouse, that new social platform everybody is talking about. You may even have experienced FOMO if you are not an Apple user, as it’s only available for iOS at the moment and it’s invite-only, which makes people want in even more. 

@Joinclubhouse is ‘a social networking app that lets people gather in audio chat rooms to discuss various topics, whether it’s sports, (healthcare), wellness, art or why Bitcoin is headed to $87,000. Rooms are usually divided into two groups: those who are talking and those who are listening’ as described by the New York Times.

I was lucky enough to join early January when it became a boom in the US and I saw it unfold along the weeks. Together with my friends at Medstartr we started the Medstartr Health Innovators club and have been building a community of 5.6k members and 5k followers in less than 2 months, which is more than what our Meetup groups even gathered in 10 years of existence.

So why should you care about ClubHouse if you are in the healthcare sector?

      > What I really like about ClubHouse is that it brings different voices around a common topic and everybody can be one of those voices, from across the spectrum of healthcare. At conferences, we tend to have c-levels on stage while on ClubHouse anybody can participate and I find it very refreshing as it brings a different perspective to the discussions and more debates. It’s also a great place for patients to amplify their voices and be fully part of the conversation, which we are often missing… 

      > There are no geographical borders which leads to rich discussions based on experiences from across the world. It certainly broadens your perspective on what is happening outside of your own region or country. You educate yourself through global experiences, you get inspired and you discover new companies and technologies. 

      > ClubHouse is a great way to expand your network. You can connect with people from across the world. You create connections through voices. You can read the profile of the people of course, but I find that the voice connection is something deeper and more personal. You hear someone talk, you like what they say, you can feel their energy and you connect with the guts not just on paper. I also find that it brings some serendipity and can somehow replace some of those random encounters at the coffee station of physical conferences, that we are missing so much lately. 

      > ClubHouse is not a bad place to be if you are looking for a job or exploring a change in career. Not only for the healthcare rooms where you can be active and connect with interesting people, but also all the rooms on coaching where you can get great tips from successful professionals to give a shift to your career.    

      > Finally, ClubHouse can help entrepreneurs get visibility and find out new leads for their businesses. They can talk about their solutions and receive feedback from a wide variety of experts. For instance, we are doing the Friday Pitches with Medstartr Health Innovators every Friday where startups pitch their solution for 2 min and receive feedback and questions from Medstartr mentors. 

I’d like to give you a concrete example of what I like about ClubHouse:
This week we had our first Digital Health Innovators Barcelona room where we discussed whether digital health tools can empower healthcare professionals or in some cases be a burden for them instead. We were joined by innovators and passionate professionals from the rest of Spain, Germany and Latinamerica. A physical therapist joined the conversation on stage and said ‘hey, you have been talking a lot about doctors but the conversation also makes sense for physiotherapists’ giving us insights from her experience and day to day. That’s the beauty of Clubhouse for me. Those types of conversations. I really encourage you to step up, go on stage and share your voice because people make the conversation. You make the conversation and you have a lot to say. So many people don’t dare to come on stage. Don’t be shy! It’s like having coffee with friends sharing the same interests as you. 

ClubHouse

Ok, so now you are convinced and want to get actively involved in ClubHouse. Where shall you start?
  • Fill your profile with as much information as possible so people will want to follow you and connect. Your profile is your personal branding. What message do you want to share, what do you want people to know about you? If you have an attractive profile, people will start following you. If it’s blank, you won’t get much traction and could be seen as a troll. Don’t forget to add your Twitter and/or Instagram account as this is the way people will contact you since there is no way to message people on ClubHouse. 
  • Like any other social platform, ClubHouse is a tool. So first of all, you need to define your purpose and if and how ClubHouse fits into it. Then you should spend some time on ClubHouse, attend some rooms to get a feel of the platform. I highly recommend Medstartr Health Innovators and Medtech clubs, very active clubs focused on healthcare and innovation, to see what ClubHouse is all about, get to know great people, network and learn.
  • ClubHouse is a bit different from other platforms. The rooms that are proposed to you are based on the people you follow, that’s why it is important to follow people. If you are in a room listening to a conversation and you like the moderator or some of the speakers, the way they talk or express themselves, follow them! I would really recommend having a good number of followers to start your first room unless you do it under a club, which is a good option.
  • For your first rooms, plan the content a minimum and invite 3-4 people to start the discussion. Talk to those people beforehand so they commit to join, it will really help dynamizing the first part of the discussion. Then people from the crowd will join and shape the discussion, which is something nice about Clubhouse.
  • Do promotion of your rooms on social media and tag relevant people who you would like to be part of the discussion. It helps to bring a few more people and to build momentum on social media to amplify your actions and position yourself. A nice banner on social media will help bring traffic to your room on ClubHouse.
  • Consider streaming your events. We have been doing that with our community in Barcelona. It’s not a public streaming, it is just for our community, but it enables our Android users to at least listen to the conversations. It’s ok to stream sessions as long as it appears in the title of your room.  
Some things to keep in mind about ClubHouse:

> Be inclusive – Opening the stage to people from the audience is very important and will bring lots of value to the discussion plus it will expand your network. But beware of trolls and people who like to listen to themselves talk or talk about something that has nothing to do with the topic of the room. That’s where the moderator role is very important to bring the room back on track. (This is where spending time in other clubs is very useful as you can see how they moderate, deal with trolls, bring the conversation back on track etc)

> Be at least two when organizing a room. It really helps to do it as a team to ensure it all runs smoothly or if the connection cuts unexpectedly for instance, your second can take over.  

> Join a room explaining how ClubHouse works. People are organizing sessions regularly, I did one myself. It is very useful. There are rules and tips to be aware of for rooms to run smoothly like flashing your mic quickly to clap when you agree with someone, flashing your mic more slowly if you want to say something, the linear or popcorn moderation style, etc More useful tips on that page.

> Explore and give it a chance. ClubHouse is a great opportunity to go out of your comfort zone and discover new things. I have enjoyed rooms on psychedelics or with billionaires giving tips and feedback based on their experience. There are tons of different rooms on different topics. You name it. But maybe ClubHouse is not for you and that’s fine too.

Is ClubHouse only a buzz that will go as fast as it came? 

It’s true that there is a buzz at the moment around ClubHouse. Some people seem to be ‘living’ on the platform since it is a perfect tool to support and boost their every day business, others tried it but got bored quickly or didn’t see the fit. 

I have enjoyed ClubHouse so far. Being a connector with an international mindset it’s a good platform for me to make connections and keep up to date with what is happening in the world in the digital health ecosystem. I joined very interesting discussions in healthcare rooms, I can see the value for the healthcare community and I keep meeting great people. 

Being such a new platform, doubts remain: Will it unfold in the long run into a platform like Facebook or Airbnb that kind of lost their initial values and purpose? What about the security and data protection?

Competition is coming already. Twitter recently launched Twitter Spaces, which is similar to ClubHouse, but doesn’t have the Apple/Android limitation. It will be interesting to see how things evolve in the coming days with those two platforms and who wins.

Curious to hear what you think of ClubHouse and if you see it as a good platform for the healthcare community? O no? And why? Leave a comment!

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