Social media is being used nationwide, not only by individuals of all ages, but it’s also being used by businesses all over the world to stay connected, to communicate, and to also market different products and services.
Healthcare management teams are working hard to find ways to effectively utilize social media to engage patients and consumers. With people relying so heavily on the internet for information, it’s very beneficial for businesses and organizations to utilize social media as a media outlet to keep their patients and consumers informed about product information, conditions, and simply as a resource for support.
The use of social media in healthcare has been a debate among many. With growing concerns about HIPPA violations, healthcare facilities have gone back and forth on whether or not to utilize this popular platform.
HIPPA is the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This act was put in place by Congress in 1996 and was meant to be able to provide patients with more control over their medical records ensuring patient privacy, reducing healthcare fraud, implementing industry-wide standards, and giving patients access to health insurance when facing varying circumstances.
Because social media is now being used for more than selfies and showcasing your concert experiences, it makes health-related information more accessible to patients and consumers all over the world. Take a look at the different ways that the healthcare industry is utilizing social media.
Social media is a great platform to share information. Doctors, businesses, and hospitals utilize this platform to share general information on topics such as the flu, and symptoms to look for with a stomach bug. Now when it comes to patient-specific information or pictures, it will require permission from the patient with a signed release.
Medical businesses also have their own social media pages, to promote their business. Whether it’s a catheter company promoting catheters with the latest in comfort or a hospice company offering their palliative care services, social media is the place to get the word out!
Doctors are able to use social media as a platform to communicate with other doctors on new findings in case studies, updates in continuing education programs, and even share smart business moves like seeking coverage for work-related injuries.
Because of the major impact social media has on the world of healthcare, some people even take social media online courses to master the craft of marketing for their business.
Quality Measures and Comparisons
Healthcare facilities are now utilizing social media to evaluate their competitors on the products and services they offer to patients to gauge their overall satisfaction. In the world of social media, this maneuver would be called “stalking!” But in the world of healthcare, it’s called staying relevant.
The healthcare industry is a very competitive industry. If you have a patient that doesn’t like the treatment or care they’re receiving, it’s nothing for them to go to a competitor who will do what the previous company wouldn’t do.
Social media also allows businesses to find out directly from patients and consumers about their quality by way of business pages. It’s on the company pages where patients give feedback on the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The information left in comments and direct messages give doctors and physicians immediate responses and an overall consensus on treatments, medications, and different techniques in the industry. With the help of feedback, it lets that doctor or business/facility know what type of changes need to be made in certain areas.
Communication During Crisis
During times of crisis, social media has allowed people access to minute-by-minute communication and information. An active online presence allows healthcare professionals to keep the public alerted and aware of updates from organizations such as the Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control.
Live Procedural Updates
This particular aspect of social media has been quite controversial. Doctors and surgeons are now providing updates from the operating room. Healthcare professionals now have the abilities to provide other healthcare professionals such as doctors and medical students, with up-to-date information during surgical procedures.
Some people think this is a great form of innovation to the medical field and provides educational value for medical students. Others argue that it’s a distraction in the operating room. How do you feel about the matter?
Some healthcare facilities have started using social media as a tool for their employee training process. The idea is to get trainees to utilize hashtags on their social media accounts for better engagement and interaction during presentations.
These unconventional training techniques give trainees a designated area for questions with immediate responses. It also gives presenters access to immediate feedback, allowing them to see what went well and what didn’t. This type of feedback gives way for improvement to make training sessions better.