In this post, we look at the many benefits of using social media in healthcare. Social media is a key way to get that information to the public. Public health monitoring People post about everything online, including their health. Official healthcare social media channels can also provide real-time health information. So, they created a healthcare social media campaign. That includes social media groups. Reputation management A recent survey found that nearly three-quarters of patients use online reviews as the first step when finding a new doctor. So, I’m re-posting and sharing this important information about Diclegis. Your organization needs a social media strategy, a social media style guide, and social media guidelines. Social media is a great platform to share important health information.
Modern lives are going digital, and healthcare is no exception. Social networks have become an important health resource, and not just for millenials. Nearly 90 percent of older adults have used social media to seek and share health information.
It can be hard to know how to navigate the healthcare social media rules. Providers, agencies, and brands need to create informative, engaging social content. At the same time, you need to follow industry rules and regulations.
In this post, we look at the many benefits of using social media in healthcare. We also provide some tips on how to keep your social channels compliant and secure.
Benefits of social media in healthcare
Raise awareness and counter misinformation
“Health care systems must provide trusted information on immunization, flu virus, therapy, ebola, you name it.” So says Michael Yoder, the social media consultant for Spectrum Health. Social media is a key way to get that information to the public.
At the same time, in a world of “fake news,” there’s a lot of health misinformation on social networks.
Dr. Zubin Damania is better known on social as ZDoggMD. His fun social videos counter untrue and irresponsible health claims. He has built a community of more than a million followers on his Facebook page.
On Twitter, Dr. David Juurlink shares important information about the ongoing opioid crisis. He is also dedicated to taking down health non-science.
I have reviewed
you found on
you were probably
for New Year’s
it is irrational
and so dumb
— David Juurlink (@DavidJuurlink) December 29, 2018
More people now get their news from social media than from newspapers. That makes social a key place to share breaking information. It’s a perfect platform for critical instructions during a health crisis.
Typhoon Mangkhut hit the Philippines in September 2018. As it approached, the World Health Organization turned to its social channels. The organization posted infographics about staying safe during and after the typhoon.
— World Health Organization Philippines (@WHOPhilippines) October 29, 2018
The American Health Lawyers Association, the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management, and the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development worked together to create a quick, free guide to crisis communications in healthcare. Here are some of their key points to help you prepare for a crisis in advance.
- Identify key stakeholders, a primary contact, and a spokesperson
- Know what to do in the first five minutes of a crisis
- Build trust with your audience–including your internal audience
Want to make sure you’re ready to use social media in a healthcare crisis situation? Check out our post on social media crisis management.
Public health monitoring
People post about everything online, including their health. Hashtags like #flu can reveal when diseases are popping up in new locations. Public health organizations can even get a sense of the severity of symptoms.
“Social media offers advantages over traditional data sources, including real-time data availability, ease of access, and reduced cost. Social media allows us to ask, and answer, questions we never thought possible.” So wrote professors Michael Paul and Mark Dredze in their book, Social Monitoring for Public Health.
Official healthcare social media channels can also provide real-time health information.
For example, look at the Centers for Disease Control’s tweets during flu season. They share updates on flu activity across the United States to encourage people to get a flu shot.
Latest #FluView report says #flu activity continues to increase nationally. With weeks of #fluseason yet to come, it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine: https://t.co/d6sEAK1Aqs pic.twitter.com/zwzdA5uhhb
Healthcare issues can be tricky to talk about, even with doctors, especially for subjects seen as private or embarrassing. That can get in the way of effective healthcare.
For example, according to the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), only 12 percent of young people said they had been tested for sexually transmitted diseases in the last year. But more than half of STDs affect those between the ages of 15 and 24.
ASHA wanted to encourage this age group to view STD testing as a normal part of taking care of their own health. So, they created a healthcare social media campaign. The main component was a social video. In it, comedian Whitney Cummings talking to college students about sexual health.
The video got more than 3.6 million views in 10 weeks. Facebook ads drove 77 percent of the 107,0000 visits to the campaign landing page. Those ads were responsible for 43 percent of clicks on the campaign’s clinic locator. That shows viewers planned to take real action.
Nearly 40 percent of young people (ages 14 to 22) have used online tools, to try to connect with other people who have similar health challenges. That includes social media groups.
That connection can have real benefits for patients. Researchers published in the journal Surgery created a Facebook group for 350 liver transplant patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers. A full 95 percent of survey respondents said that joining the group had been positive for their care.
Facebook groups are also a great place for healthcare professionals and patients to interact. Those interactions can include patient support and education. One study is evaluating if a Facebook group for coronary heart disease patients can increase participation in cardiac rehabilitation .
Of course, here are privacy concerns when discussing health online. this is a great use of Facebook secret groups, which do not show up in search results. Users have to be invited to join.
Social networks offer an opportunity to connect with potential study and survey participants. Like brands, researchers need to understand social…