The rise of social media in the world has affected all aspects of our lives. It has affected how we communicate, where we communicate, lifestyle changes and many more. Its impact on the healthcare industry is therefore quite evident.
In an era where mobile phones and applications have become an integral part of our lives, healthcare providers have not been left behind. Everyone is sharing information including doctors, hospitals, nutritionists, nurses and even patients. Let us see how this has in turn affected the health care sectors:
- Patients have taken an active role in their health care.
Before social media, most patients used to solely rely on their doctors to provide primary information about their illness. This days however, with the emergence of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram most of them are better informed and more educated on their illness and methods of treatment.
Patients are also using social media platforms to discuss certain illnesses and to recommend or discourage services of certain doctors and hospitals. Social media also provides for support groups whereby people ailing from similar diseases can get support more often anonymously.
- Social media is used by hospitals and doctors as a marketing tool
Hospitals have switched their focus from emails and newsletters due to increased improvement in healthcare social media. They have realized that it is cheaper, more effective and reaches a wider and broader audience. Marketing certain services and announcing the acquisition of certain equipment is easier done on social media pages managed by certain hospitals.
Hospitals and healthcare providers can also take advantage of already formed support groups to provide information and advice to patients. This in turn benefits the institution and the doctor in question by creating a sense of confidence in their patients thereby coaxing them to meet them physically.
- Demand for Transparency in the healthcare field
Transparency in cost, value and outcome of medical procedures and programs has become evident due to increased access of information. A patient who is well informed and who has interacted with medical professionals online will demand for transparency in the way his/ her case is being handled.
Patients these days demand for transparent sharing of data and outcomes in clinical studies or certain forms of treatment as compared to others. The need for interaction with the healthcare providers through such platforms plays a big role in what form of treatment they will eventually settle on.
- Increased level of trust
According to a recent study conducted by Colombia University, it was discovered that people trust information posted on social media by hospitals, doctors and other healthcare providers. They are also more likely to share their personal information with the same providers via social media.
This shows that doctors can indeed form a patient-doctor bond via social sites. Human relationships are what fuels the healthcare sector and where this was only achieved through personal interaction, it can now be formed comfortably via the web.
Although there are many platforms available to the health sector to market, interact and communicate with the masses, social media has proven to be the most effective both in terms of cost and convenience. Everyone in the healthcare industry should take this into careful consideration.
Trey Goldwin is a social media strategist working with the Brooklyn Association of Healthcare providers. He has been in the industry for close to 6 years and has extensive knowledge on healthcare social media.