Main Page > The View


Statistics Tells It All: Social Media in Healthcare

July 8, 2016 Medology360

Long gone are the days when social media was a newfound buzz word. It has shifted from a trendy, fly-by-night, teenager internet phenomenon to a cultural norm that has permeated to our business and personal lives. Yet, is it really worth the time and money it takes to embed social media within a healthcare organization’s strategy? Do you really need to share a photo online with your socks not matching because you grabbed the wrong ones in the morning? How is this snapshot in life relevant to the respectable image of a healthcare provider?

More than you think! Today’s search engines are able to track and analyze our every move online. There are too many collaborating data sets to ignore the investment in healthcare social media. Social authenticity affects whether or not patients are comfortable sharing information with the provider. If patients are not comfortable sharing information with their doctor, he or she is limited in their ability to help the patient.

Do respectable healthcare providers need social media gimmicks that the Kardashians use?

Relationship building between physicians and patients has always been vital to improving patient outcomes. Patients have been quicker to adopt social media as a means of bridging that relationship gap with providers, but doctors now recognize its significance, too.

  1. Social media is WOM on steroids.
  2. Patients connect with doctors traditionally by asking a friend or another provider.

    • 31% of providers use social media for networking (Mediabistro)
    • 40% of consumers state that information found on social media affects how they approach their health (Mediabistro)

    Social media is simply a platform that facilitates that referral conversation.

  3. Patients trust referral advice given on social media…and why not?
  4. When a patient asks for a physician on social media, they are asking a group of friends they know and trust already.

    • 90% of respondents from 18 to 24 years of age said they would trust medical information shared by others on their social media networks. (Search Engine Watch)

    If your clinic or organization is largely referral driven, it only makes sense to be present where the referrals are taking place.

  5. Social media changes the way patients perceive physicians and expectations for appointment setting.
  6. These platforms act as a lens to amplify an organization’s perception. Individuals and organizations active on social media are considered as being more authentic.

    • 60% of social media users are the most likely to trust social media posts and activity by doctors over any other group. (source:Infographics Archive)
    • 49% of those polled expect to hear from their doctor when requesting an appointment or follow-up discussion via social media within a few hours. (HealthCare Finance News)
    • 41% of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility. (Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)
    • 30% of adults are likely to share information about their health on social media sites with other patients, 47% with doctors, 43% with hospitals, 38% with a health insurance company and 32% with a drug company (Fluency Media)
  7. People seek medical answers online.
  8. If you take the time to research something, you have taken a physical and mental effort towards a topic. Wouldn’t you prefer to be the source of that inquiry? Here are some things to consider:

    • Parents are more likely to seek medical answers online, 22% use Facebook and 20% use YouTube. Of non-parents, 14% use Facebook and 12% use YouTube to search for health care related topics. () source: Mashable
    • The most accessed online resources for health related information are: 56% searched WebMD, 31% on Wikipedia, 29% on health magazine websites, 17% used Facebook, 15% used YouTube, 13% used a blog or multiple blogs, 12% used patient communities, 6% used Twitter and 27% used none of the above. (Mashable)

    Social media encourages patients to ask, find, and connect with a physician more freely. It enhances the comfort level in communications with the doctors.

  9. Who sees results from posting on social media?
  10. Doctors and their patients. Doctors believe social media improves the quality of care provided to patients.

    • 60% of doctors say social media improves the quality of care delivered to patients. (Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)
    • 2/3 of doctors are use social media for professional purposes, often preferring an open forum as opposed to a physician-only online community. (EMR Thoughts)
    • 40% of people polled said information found on social media affects how someone coped with a chronic condition, their view of diet and exercise and their selection of a physician. (HealthCare Finance News)
  11. Healthcare Organizations?
  12. Social media gives large organizations the ability to connect with patients on a personal level and funnel their brand message to followers on a large scale—and the results show.

    • The Mayo Clinic’s podcast listeners rose by 76,000 after the clinic started using social media. (Infographics Archive)
    • Massachusetts General Hospital developed an iPhone app called EMNet Finder which directs users to the nearest emergency room. (Infographics Archive)
    • Nebraska Medical Center opened monthly patient workshops for individuals with a specific type of cancer after a patient shared her experience on YouTube. NMC physicians also used QR codes to direct patients toward additional videos for more information. (Infographics Archive)

    To answer the question of posting your picture of wearing mismatched socks – YES! Just this action of your fashion faux pas and sharing, this snap in time makes you endearing, personable and someone that can be trusted to share.

    A coherent social media strategy is must do. It is not whether you should do it but when to start. You can start with clarifying your brand strategy, customer strategy, and social media strategy. For organizations with existing social media accounts, it is time to do a social media audit to optimize your investment.

    Talk to a team member at Medology360 to identify which steps your organization should take towards improving your brands’ social media strategy today.

Print Friendly
Medology360 provides consulting services to enable digital transformations for healthcare providers in the Southwest region of the United States. We help clients achieve revenue growth, practice reconfiguration/expansion, practice management and financial restructuring.

Get Latest Trends