Healthcare Social Media: Time To Get On Board

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Many hospitals and practices still hesitate to jump on board the social media bandwagon. Here’s some practical advice to guide your organization through the decision process.


Healthcare Providers Need To Invest Wisely

We humans are such social creatures. We band together to protect ourselves from a common enemy, we contribute food and clothing to the needy after a storm, and of course we tailgate to cheer on our favorite NFL team. Given this propensity to congregate, it comes as no surprise to see social media explode in the last several years.

By one estimate, 69% of active Web users–about 152 million people–visit Facebook at least once a month, and 62% of adult Internet users visit social networking sites of all sorts, according to Eliza, a healthcare communications vendor that specializes in patient engagement. Narrowing the figures down to health-related issues, Eliza says almost one out of every four social network users have followed their friends’ personal health experiences or updates.


Obviously, social media is no passing fad, and healthcare providers who ignore this cultural phenomenon do so at their own peril, for at least two reasons: It’s likely that the hospital or practice down the street is already working on a social media strategy, so you remain at a significant disadvantage if you keep your head in the sand.


Equally important, several key federal IT regulations insist on more patient engagement–including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Stage 2 Meaningful Use–and social media outlets are one of the best ways to engage patients.

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