Remember the Reader’s Digest headlines – I am Joe’s colon? These were written as first person accounts of an organ residing in your body – speaking from a colon’s perspective (of course). That was more than 30 years ago. Today, you can jump into live video of a colonoscopy as it is being performed on Periscope. reported last summer: “Mayo Clinic, unsurprisingly, is a frontrunner with 3,100 followers (versus more than 1 million Twitter followers). The health system used the app to broadcast a tour of its Historical Suite on July 7. Mayo reported that the tour went well, with 466 live viewers and nearly 5,000 hearts (likes).”

This March, I watched a live video colonoscopy via Mayo’s Periscope. For health care marketing, you can’t get any more real than this unless you’re in the room. I was watching, thankfully, after breakfast. Seeing the inside of your guts on a winding journey is interesting. But I can attest that you would certainly feel better prepared if you had viewed this prior to having the procedure.

In the surgery room, there were cameras and writers hovering in the background with the anesthetized patient. The broadcast was “too full” for me to ask any questions as only “early joiners” were allowed. With the app downloaded on my phone, I was later able to ask questions during the surgery as other viewers began to drop off.

Moderator: What’s going on in your mind Dr. Alexander?
Doctor: Well, that’s a little node here …

The schedule of Periscope procedures is publicized by Mayo online. The videos are also posted later to the hospital’s YouTube channel.

I did lose the connection once (shame on AT&T broadband). I backed out and joined again. But it started at the beginning – “Welcome to my colonoscopy” from the patient describing prep. As any viewer wanting to stop, pause and forward video, I was annoyed and dropped the video. When I went back to the app on my phone, I could jump back live. Pressing and holding the video to skip ahead was imprecise.

Live numbers on the view began to drop about 45 minutes in (perhaps others were losing their connections as well).

Moderator: “As we wrap up this broadcast, any final thoughts about what we’ve seen there this morning – essentially take aways?”
Doctor: “It was an exam that went extremely well with no findings – sort of the norm for people asymptomatic.”

March, by the way, is Colon Cancer Awareness Month so if the topic is trending, and Mayo uses its content correctly, it should be able to drive awareness and increase interest.

You can still buy “I am Joe’s Body,” based on the popular Reader’s Digest series, on Amazon.

Experimenting with any new social media channel for marketing and PR can be daunting, but well worth the trial and error to gain new followers/customers/clients – and patients.

Our check-in with three major Indy area hospitals? No one is yet using Periscope for marketing or patient education.

Just remember as the Mayo doctors stated: “Most of the discomfort is on the way in.”