5 ways social media is revolutionizing the healthcare industry
Over the past few years, social media has surprised many by progressively becoming a huge game changer in the healthcare industry. At first reluctant to its use, the medical sector has finally embraced social media and its great potential in better reaching patients and professionals as well as building brand awareness.
- Informing better
According to statistics compiled by the Wisconsin Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing Society, around eighty percent of doctors use the web, apps and social media to find information on pharmaceutical and medical devices and keeping informed on administrative processes such as doctor’s appraisal in the UK.
The trend goes both ways as patients, and especially the younger generation tend to use social media before choosing their doctors, hospitals and even treatments. This is especially true in the US where healthcare is mostly private.
More controversially, more and more doctors and surgeons in the US use Twitter to give live updates directly from the operating room. Experts argue it’s another great educational tool and great marketing opportunity to attract patients and new member of staff.
2. Extending and transforming the relationship between doctors and patients
The older generation of doctors could be mourning the end of the traditional relationship between physicians and patients with the advent of social media in healthcare. With the web, patients are now better informed than ever and most experts actually believe that the relationship between patients and doctors is shifting from a paternalistic standpoint to a more beneficial and balanced kind of partnership.
More and more of this relationship actually now occurs on the web. According to various studies, people are also more comfortable requesting appointments online and typically expect to hear back from their doctor within a few hours. The way we book appointments and communicate with doctors is definitely being revolutionized by social media and the web and the trend is only growing.
3. Targeting the audience
The ability offered by social media platforms such as Facebook to precisely target the audience and have a direct impact on patients is most valued by the medical sector. Likewise, patients are more and more turning to social media and Facebook in particular (around seventeen percent of the audience) before taking health related decisions.
4. Building trust
Social media is improving the way people feel about sharing their information and health care related experiences within dedicated communities and forums. Experts are hoping this new source of information for professionals will lead to more innovations in the medical sector. Ninety percent of people aged 18-24 are likely to trust medical information found on social media so the potential is highly considerable.
5. Dealing with crisis
Social media has proven particularly useful during crises to keep the population informed. For instance, medical professionals were being kept updated during the Boston bombings and able to react faster and prepare accordingly for the onrush of patients and specific types of injuries. Likewise, during the ebola epidemic of 2014, social media played an important role and helped manage the crisis by equipping public health organizations and agencies with tools able to educate the population and find staff and volunteers.