It’s Time for Healthcare Marketing to Like Social Media
The interaction between consumers and healthcare organizations has drastically changed due to social media and those healthcare organizations wanting to expand their roles with consumers need to realize the business value of this form of engagement.
“I feel like the healthcare industry is finally getting it. My hospital has a Facebook page where they post lifestyle advice, the drug company shares newly released treatment studies through its Twitter account, and my insurer even has these interactive games that help manage my diet and exercise. Best of all, I’ve joined a few patient communities where I share how I’m doing on certain treatments and see how I compare to others.” – Anonymous consumer quote from Health Research Institute’s “Social Media Likes Healthcare” report
In this survey of 1,060 U.S. adults, more than 70 percent of consumer survey respondents said they would appreciate receiving assistance from healthcare providers via social media with referrals and appointment scheduling, while 69 percent would value offers to save money and receive support post-discharge.
“If you want to connect with people and be part of their community, you need to go where the community is.” – Ed Bennett, University of Maryland Medical Center
The report also reveals that one-third of healthcare consumers are using online platforms to:
- Base their decisions on where they will go for medical care
- Access health-related consumer reviews (of treatments or physicians)
- Find information on conditions and treatments
- Share their opinions about physicians
And this trend is growing. Currently, more than 1,200 hospitals in the U.S. participate in social media.
As healthcare shifts from volume to a value-based system, it’s becoming increasingly important for your healthcare organization to take a more active role in managing people’s health by incorporating social media into your business strategy. HRI recommends embracing social media as a mindset, as opposed to just another communication channel. Also, it’s important to follow these best practices:
- Take a disciplined approach to planning
- Focus on trust and transparency in your goals, not just ROI
- Commit to being accessible and relevant to your audiences
As you adapt your internal operations, consider revamping your processes so that you can be relevant at the time of need. You may also want to create a hub for social media that can coordinate IT, legal, customer service, clinical, and other functions. HIPAA compliancy is of utmost importance, so you’ll want to follow the guidelines established by the Federation of State Medical Boards: Model Policy Guidelines for the Appropriate Use of Social Media and Social Networking in Medical Practice.
Lastly, analyze the data so you’re not just talking and listening. Valuable insights can be gleaned from social data that can be transformed into actions.
For a great best practices resource in social media, be sure to check out Mayo Clinic’s Social Media Health Network.
To download HRI’s full report, click here.
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Tags: Federation of State Medical Boards, Mayo Clinic Social Media Health Network, Model Policy Guidelines for the Appropriate use of Social Media and Social Networking in Medical Practice
Categorized in: Healthcare