Social Media and Healthcare

Social Media and Healthcare

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It was reported on a well known healthcare blog, Found In Cache, that as of January 23, 2011, 906 hospitals were using 3,087 social sites.  In nine months time that same blog reported 1,229 hospitals were using 4,118 social sites.  As we all know social media is a growing part of healthcare.  It is still difficult for some healthcare organizations to see where to start with social media.  Organizations struggle with connecting their businesses to social media and connecting their efforts to a return on investment.

In an April 2012 report by Health Research Institute (HRI) titled “Social Media ‘Likes’ Healthcare from Marketing to Social Business”, 45% of consumers said information found via social media would affect their decisions to seek a second opinion. More than 40% of respondents reported that information found via social media would affect the way they coped with a chronic condition or their approach to diet and exercise.”

What better way to reach consumers and supporters than to have a presence in social media. Use it as a means to provide the most up to date information from your organization.  Share research projects, new therapies, advances in medicine by your organization, and ways you are giving back in your community. These are just a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless. You will be amazed at the response from consumers and supporters when you give them real information they can use.

Some examples of healthcare organizations using social media that might give you some ideas:

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has over 693,000 Facebook members. They created a social media tool kit for their users. It contains social media policies, graphic banners for websites, instructions on creating a Facebook page of to support St. Jude, donation widgets and RSS feeds just to name a few. They have seen the potential social media has for what they do and have embraced it.

The Mayo Clinic has 92,494 Facebook members. Their use of Facebook includes sharing annual reports and patient stories. There are several articles posted about advancements in their research. They use it to promote webcast and YouTube videos that help consumers understand different conditions. The Mayo Clinic also uses Twitter in the same way with a following of over 340,000.

I hope in reading these data and ideas from some well known healthcare organizations that you can see the benefits of social media. The use of technology and the internet is increasing every day. Prepare yourself for the social media revolution.

~ Kristen Price