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Impact of Social Media on Health Sector

The internet revolution has affected our lives in many possible ways. The one facet of this revolution is social media, which is so integral to our daily lives that on an average we spend 144 minutes or 2 hours and 24 minutes daily. Global internet use is over 4.2 billion and social media is actively being used by over 3 billion people. Interactions over social media are not limited to personal connections; 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business account. It is easy to connect with brands while catching up on your friend’s timeline with all the ads your social media provides.

Does social media have an impact on healthcare?

 

Many industries have begun to understand the value of social media’s ability to connect with consumers. Platforms help companies raise awareness of brands, exchange information and partner with influencers from industry. Digital marketing strategies are taking over traditional marketing strategies because social media is a future wave.

Healthcare industry joined the social media bandwagon a little late. The industry has just begun to recognize the undeniable impact that social media can have on healthcare quality. The risk to patients and healthcare providers which should be taken into account may, possibly, delay this industry to actively take up social media. Patient information confidentiality and privacy must be maintained at all times. Social media can give consumer information more quickly than any other tool. Look at social media history and the positive impact that this can have on the quality of healthcare.

 

The Heads and Tails of Social Media

 

Most people use social media to watch funny videos and post family and friends photos. Some users post more than once every day. However, did you know that activity in social media can have dire consequences? Roughly 70% of employees use social media during the recruitment procedure to screen potential employees. You might not be out of the hook when you are hired — more than 40% of employers use social media to check their current employer.

In the court even social media posts can be submitted as evidence. Anything you share may be brought before the judge as proof in proceedings. The evidence is legally obtainable from all public updates. So it could help or hamper your case to post images before or during or after certain incidents.

Healthcare sector took up Social Media

 

Healthcare industry took cognizance of the benefits reaped by the businesses and government of social media. There are major opportunities missed by hospitals that are not active on social media. These systems communicate with current, past and future patients through social media. Social media offers an easy way for consumers to share information. Even providers and other employees are surfing the web. Most health professionals use social media to network with their peers. For activities such as open forums, most of the physicians use these platforms. Having an online presence provides transparency to consumers and peers. Many professionals join platforms like Twitter to become influencers in healthcare. They can explore the industry, make connections, and engage their community.  It’s not only doctors who use social media as interactive marketing. Many nurses, pharmacists, counselors, and therapists have large followings online. 

Healthcare Consumers are embracing it

 

Mobile healthcare is expanding as consumers are accessing the data from mobile devices. more than 320,000 fitness and health apps available worldwide. However, not many of them collect data efficiently. These applications can not cure chronic illness, but experts think they can alter behaviour. Combining  apps with a doctor or counselor will have a positive impact on your health. Many users believe an app can make you more accountable and give access to information and care.

Consumers use social media to look for new therapies and advice. Providers must connect to consumers by means of educational content. In order to educate others on health topics, this information can be shared. Over 40 % of consumers say that information on social media affects their health and well-being choices. Another 90 % of people aged 18 to 24 years find social media medical information trustworthy. This means that it is more important than ever for health experts to be visible online.

Social Media’s Impact on Healthcare

 

Social media’s role in healthcare is being embraced by the medical fraternity. From increasing access to creating a consistent image, hospitals and other providers are opening up new accounts daily. The ways in which social media is helping professionals to reach more patients and improve care.

 

  • Generations Accessing Healthcare Online

 

Healthcare companies are gradually shifting from traditional advertising to digital advertising. Patients seek quick access to information when they need it online. Every generations are on internet for some or the other healthcare needs

As per Forbes report of January,2017 9% of all facebook users are over 55 years of age. The baby boomers are becoming more tech-savvy. Their searches include search for local healthcare services and social media platforms such as youtube for health related information. Whereas, millennials are focused on healthy living as well cost conscious. This makes them highly susceptible to use social media for health care information.

Generation Y are frequent consumers of information available on social media or online support groups when they are ill. They can get 24*7 support from others who have similar experiences, this leads them to try new approaches  to preventive healthcare. By providing authentic and reliable information, healthcare providers and companies could engage with consumers and improve their overall wellness.

 

  • Being Authenticity

 

Patients have quick access to information on the internet and they are becoming more aware. Now patients are smart and  asking questions to doctors. Once satisfied then only they want to establish relationships for their healthcare. Allowing one or two tech-savvy employees to share pictures of office or facility events helps to bring a level of humanness to any practice. Offering a “behind the scenes” look will increase consumer engagement and improve overall client satisfaction.

 

  • Being Aware of Competition

 

Competition’s social media handles give the hospital’s and company’s management to keep an eye on them. Through this they evaluate competitors’s community engagement, products and services offered, strengths and weaknesses through customer’s feedback. This significantly impacts decision making before investment in new services and technology.

 

  • Staff Training

 

Some health facilities create hashtags for training for specific staff groups. Users can share new research, hospital policies, and events information with one another. Instead of sending everyone over intranet eventually to get lost in information,  they use hashtags to educate employees about new policy and procedures. Staff can positively influence patient care when they are up-to-date with the latest information.

 

  • Real-Time Updates

 

Social media allows health professionals to quickly communicate emergencies and situations. Updates can provide life-saving information, it also provides census notifications to crisis alerts. The World Health Organization’s Twitter Feed is a fantastic example of getting real-time information to the masses. They provide information on everything from sugar use to the most recent global or local crises. In disasters, the World Health Organization uses social media to educate individuals about safety measures and where critical resources such as food and water can be located.

 

  • Source of Effective Feedback

 

Consumers want to connect with providers quickly. They You may have to share a reaction to a medication or a recent appointment. It is a simple way to learn how patients perceive care received by allowing patients to give feedback on social media handles.

 

Patients may interact via social media messages or live chats. They can provide important information to improve your services. Use feedback to track complaints and trends and applaud employees recognized by consumers. Providers can also reach the patient after feedback has been provided. Provide additional training by gathering patient information for improving care given.

 

Social Media for Future Development

 

Use of Social media for providing healthcare might be a new technology, but it will integrate further in our life like it did for communication. Consumers are constantly looking for information that they need at their fingertips. They need healthcare providers that are responsive to their needs and authentic. When consumers get what they need through responsive providers, selfcare behaviour flourishes.

You need a social media presence, regardless of whether you’re a solo practitioner or a large academic institution. Create a username and start to engage your community. To improve the quality of the health care that you provide, use these strategies.

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