6 Reasons Health Care Professionals Need Social Media

By on September 12, 2014

Social media has basically become the lifeblood of society. Few of us could live without the constant communication with friends and family.

How does social media affect the health care industry though?

An Unlikely Combination

At first glance, you may think it is crazy to combine health care and social media. After all, social media is…social. And health issues tend to be very personal.

We all know social media is good for Throwback Thursday pictures of a now-teenager back when she had adorable pigtails and freckles. But what about a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome? Is that worthy of social media?

The connection between social media and health care is actually much more relevant than you may think. In fact, as a health professional, it is pretty much essential to your success.

Here are six reasons why you need to be active on social media.

1. In a recent study, 90% of participants in the 18-24 year-old age range report they trust medical information shared via social media. (Search Engine Watch)

That’s a high percentage of young adults using social media to answer medical-related questions. So how does this affect you as a health professional?

There’s plenty of false information out there on the web, so take this opportunity to start spreading accurate information. Since social media has become a trusted source of information, do your part to make it as trustworthy as possible.

Dr. Brent Agin, a preventative medicine specialist, uses his blog and social media accounts to raise awareness about misconceptions in the preventative health arena. For example, the latest health trends make it seem vitamin B12 injections are only used for weight loss; in reality, the nutrient is used to treat and prevent major health issues.

2. 31% of health care professionals already make use of social media specifically for professional networking. (MedTechMedia)

This statistic just goes to show you that there are plenty of applications for professional development in social media. Professional development is no longer restricted to the classroom or boisterous conference halls. If you want to connect with an expert in your field, you can easily do so on social media.

Allied professionals, nurses, pharmacists and physicians are all using social media to connect with others and enhance their job search.

3. Nearly half of patients polled expect to hear back from their doctor through a social media site within a few hours. (HealthCare Finance News)

This statistic is surprising for two reasons. First, the majority of patients are turning to social media to do things like schedule appointments and follow up to an office visit.

Second, they expect quick responses! As frustrating as it may seem, if you truly want to offer great patient care, you’re going to have to rethink traditional methods of communication.

According to Kelly Colbert, director of strategic advertising at WellPoint, “Truly social brands will listen to what customers are saying…and use that insight to adapt.

4. More than 25% of hospitals across the nation use social media. (Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)

Since over one quarter of all hospitals in the US now make use of social media sites, you are considered behind the times if you don’t. Using social media to keep in contact with any past patients or even present ones can open up lines of communication for the hospital – which can lead to significant bonds of trust between hospital and patient.

The majority of doctors say social media improves the quality of care delivered to patients.

5. Parents use social media to find medical answers: 22% use Facebook and 20% use Youtube. Non-parents also use Facebook (14%) and YouTube (12%) for healthcare topics. (Mashable)

Parents always put their children first, and they’ll use whatever resources they can to help answer any questions they may have. Now with social media, parents have more resources than ever, so make sure to spread proper information.

6. The podcast of the Mayo Clinic grew by 76,000 listeners after the clinic started using social media. (Infographics Archive)

This is one of those examples of a correlation actually equaling causation. Because the Mayo Clinic started using social media, their listeners increased tremendously. As a result, it can be inferred that increasing use of social media provides health care professionals additional exposure and opportunities to inform.

In the age of social media, it’s for the best of the healthcare field to grow with the times and embrace the newest trend of using social media to speak directly in an open forum with patients and clients.

About Jessica Velasco

Jessica Velasco works for a marketing firm, interacting with clients in a wide variety of niches. She has seen first-hand what does and doesn’t work—as well as industry-specific trends of importance. You can find Jessica on Google+.
Close

Like what you're reading?

Like us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for more!