22 Jun Social Media and Healthcare
Social media has become such a routine part of daily life that medical schools, such as the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, are offering courses on engaging in social media without appearing unprofessional—or even worse—violating HIPPA regulations.
According to Kelly Barnes, U.S. Health Industries leader for PwC, “The power of social media for health organizations is in listening and engaging with consumers on their terms. Social media has created a new customer service access point where consumers expect an immediate response. Health organizations have an opportunity to use social media as a way to better listen, participate in discussions, and engage with consumers in ways that extend their interaction beyond a clinical encounter. Savvy adopters are viewing social media as a business strategy, not just a marketing tool.”
How Medical Practices and Hospitals Benefit From Social Media
Shel Holtz, media manager for the Mayo Clinic, advises, “If your audience is in the social spaces, then you need to be there, too. If you don’t have content there, then you fundamentally don’t exist for most of those people.”
Hospitals and medical practices can share their success stories through social media with posts shared by staff and patients. That particularly poignant moment when a difficult situation reached a turning point doesn’t need to reach an end at the dinner table.
Sharing positive outcomes does more than highlight the benefits of a particular organization—it revitalizes hope and comfort among individuals who truly need the proverbial “shot in the arm.”
On the flip side is damage control. Unfortunately, outcomes are not always positive. Opinions are generally formed within the first 24 hours of “breaking news,” so it’s imperative to implement damage control. A traditional press release can be issued; however, social media such as Twitter is much faster and with many—more believable. Use this resource to protect your organization.
How to Be Certain That Social Media Benefits Healthcare
Pew researcher, Susannah Fox found a remarkable story about two mothers who connected on Facebook and ultimately prevented a child from being sedated unnecessarily. Erin Moore, a self-described “ mother, wife, daughter, sister, niece, aunt, neighbor and friend” has the intelligence and sensibility to understand that social media includes both positive and negative aspects, and that a physician needs to verify information found online. With her particular connection, the result was positive.
Text2Quit is smoking cessation program with over 75,000 enrollees in the United States. Preliminary data suggests that individuals involved with the social media program experienced a 32% quit rate with regard to cigarette smoking.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, smoking cigarettes harms nearly every organ in the body. Furthermore, “More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking. than have died in all the wars fought by the United States during its history.”
(Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2014 Feb 6].
Smoking is well known as an additive killer. Any program that helps individuals beat the addiction earns bonus points.
Outside the Doctor’s Office
While physicians are certainly key to an individual’s healthcare, much of the conversation happens outside the office. Patients speak with their family and friends about their condition, their concerns, and seek advice when making decisions. They search for answers online. They join support groups.
Joining the social media revolution is no longer optional. It is part of the growing scope of healthcare and shared information.
Does social media guide your healthcare decisions? Read more! Learning How to Connect Via Social Media
Social media is commonplace for the generation that came of age in the 21st century. For those who are new to the explosion of shared information, engaging in social media is uncharted territory with a steep learning curve.
HealthCare Marketing Group understands that your focus is on taking care of your patients. That’s why we offer resources to handle your marketing needs so that you can do what you do best—what you are needed to do.
HealthCare Marketing Group provides several services free of charge: phone consultation, website analysis, and competitor website analysis, as well as free social media and marketing guides to help you get started on making a difference.
You can reach us at 800-258-0702 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to collaborating on your success.