As a healthcare organization, there are a few risks you need to consider before entering the world of social media. Do you want to open up the door for negative comments? Can you risk exposing your organization to privacy, security and ethics breaches? What happens if your staff inappropriately shares confidential information about patients and how will you handle ethical questions about patient/provider relationships?
These are all relevant and important issues that need to be addressed separately in a social media policy. However, they should not stop you from being present and engaging in social media. There are many benefits to utilizing social media in healthcare. Recent reports are showing that 40% of consumers have sought out reviews of treatments, physicians and other patient experiences using social media*. The conversations, check-ins, reviews, referrals, discussions, and sharing will go on whether your organization is aware of them or not.
Think of your social media marketing strategy as a way to support your business and integrated marketing efforts in order to take a more active and engaging role. With the right leadership and resources, social media can evolve into a social business.
Here are a few areas where social media and new technology can benefit a healthcare organization.
Customer Service/Reputation Management
Connect with patients and customers through social media, respond to reviews and reply to comments about your organization
Hospitals are full of stories that people, in general, are interested in. Inspire your community to overcome great odds and living a healthier life.
Consumer/Patient and Professional Education
Online communities and networks scale up your potential reach for teaching and training. Share audio, updates, and video of groundbreaking procedures.
Correct miscommunication, spread news fast and provide live updates on emergencies like natural disasters or accidents.
Patient Monitoring/Care Coordination
Have patients provide updates on their health status and connect them with providers, family, and friends to stay healthy and engaged.
*Source: PwC “Social Media “Likes” Healthcare, from Marketing to Social Business”
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2012 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.