The Health Care system is something that virtually every citizen interacts with over and over. As such it seems like a natural for those within the system to try exploring how social media might be of benefit to their customers/clients, as well as how it might impact internal communications and processes.
Ed Bennett, who is, according to his blog, a hospital web manager in the University of Maryland medical system, gave a presentation on Hospitals and Social Media at the J. Boye conference e-Health track. He cites some interesting examples of social media usage...for instance, the MD Anderson Cancer Center used Twitter, YouTube and Facebook to promote use of referring physician portals...and tracked a 9.5% increase in registrations.
Henry Ford Health used Twitter in it's education program, to do a series of live Twitter-casts of surgeries....with real time Q and A with the surgeons, and garnered national press attention...and had over 500 following in real-time.
Innovis Health used a blog and Twitter during the floods in Fargo, North Dakota...they created the blog and had an update up in the first hour of the emergency...which lead to decreased media demands, and freed up phone lines for emergencies.
I can definitely see how, in the very competitive field of health care, using social media properly can become a real differentiator between service providers, and a potential real competitive advantage.