Social media is permeating our personal and professional lives everywhere you look—even in the healthcare industry. As more hospitals, clinics, doctors and medical staff are joining social media platforms, it is imperative that healthcare providers have a comprehensive social media policy in place. Don’t have a policy in place yet? Looking for some motivation?
Recent research shows that, of the 5,754 registered hospitals in the United States, 21% of them are actively using social media. That’s one out of five hospitals promoting and potentially engaging with the public and patients on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and YouTube. Facebook is by far the most popular social media choice with 87% creating a brand page and encouraging people to “like” them.
Coming in second with 77% of hospitals is Foursquare, the social site that lets you “check in” to places to see who else is there and what they have to say about it. Twitter, the other social media golden child, is used by two-thirds of hospitals who tend to tweet about upcoming events, encourage wellness checks and screenings as well as provide helpful links and information to common ailments and conditions.
Healthcare organizations are getting creative with their use of social media as well. While marketing, brand and reputation management are staples of their social programs, employee and clinical trial recruitment, education initiatives and patient monitoring are also in their repertoire.