Social Media in Healthcare: WHY Your Facility Needs It
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2017
If your organization is not already on board with using social media in healthcare, you can’t afford to wait any longer. Here are three reasons your healthcare facility needs a social media presence:
1. Patients are Online
Your patients are using the Internet and social media to find and share health information. This includes patients of all ages, from Millennials to Baby Boomers. Social media impacts Millennials’ healthcare decisions, including their choice of provider. And when it comes to adults above the age of 50, 82% research health and wellness information online.
According to the Pew Research Center, 86% of Americans utilize the Internet, and 79% of those online users and 68% of all adult Americans use Facebook (with 76% of those who do checking in on a daily basis). Improve patient engagement by connecting with your patients using a medium they’re comfortable with and that many use throughout the day.
2. Promote Your Facility
Using social media can be a cost-free way to promote a brand to a large audience; yet, healthcare marketers use social media to distribute content less than other marketers do, and use costly print media more often than other marketers, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
It’s important to be proactive about your organization’s online image because if you don’t control it, others will. Patients are now posting online reviews of providers and healthcare facilities on Yelp and health-specific review sites like Healthgrades and Vitals. In a 2017 study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, 39% of patients reported visiting a website like these at least once.
Many also share their health experiences with their entire online networks in the form of Facebook posts and tweets.
3. Serve the Community
While the Internet provides quick access to health information to more people than ever before, one drawback is that information posted online is not always correct. Your facility can combat all the poor-quality information out there that your patients may be reading by offering them accurate health information they know they can trust.
Social media can be a very effective tool for reaching your patients with important preventive healthcare and healthy living tips, and can assist you in raising their awareness about other relevant health issues or concerns. HIMSS advocates for the use of social media in healthcare as a way to improve patient engagement, which the organization believes can improve health literacy.
Both the CDC and WHO encourage the use of social media in healthcare as well. As WHO put it (in its Bulletin of the World Health Organization): “one fact sheet or an emergency message about an outbreak can be spread through Twitter faster than any influenza virus.”
Check out this infographic for more statistics on patients’ use of social media for healthcare information, and stay tuned for next week’s blog containing specific tips on HOW to use social media in healthcare.