Social media in healthcare has exploded. It is transforming patient care as it spreads through many facets of healthcare delivery. A paper by JMIR said that nearly 90 percent of older adults have used social media to seek and share health information.
Most hospitals, physicians and even insurance companies now have an active presence on social media outlets, and are leveraged to communicate important topics to patients. Nearly 60 percent of doctors admit social media improves the quality of care provided to patients.
Social media provides access to reviews and feedback from patients about healthcare providers. Websites such as Yelp or Healthgrades, are a place for patients to share their healthcare experiences, good and bad. Unfortunately most people are more likely to share reviews about bad experiences than positive ones.
Patients have come to trust the reviews they read online. According to a recent survey of nearly 2,500 patients, 94 percent of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians. Almost three quarters, 72 percent, of patients use online reviews as their first step to finding a new doctor.
A health crisis can be communicated faster to the public than ever before. Public health organizations can monitor the public’s health through social media. For example, hashtags like #flu can reveal when diseases are popping up in new locations. Then health organizations can respond through social media with updates on flu activity, educational material about the flu and flu shots, and encourage people to go get a flu shot.
Patients who are hesitant to discuss their medical conditions with healthcare providers face to face may feel more comfortable discussing it online anonymously. Facebook groups are a great place for healthcare professionals and patients to interact. Those interactions can include patient support and education.
Social media is also a great recruitment tool if you’re looking to hire new Nurses and Doctors or if you’re the one searching for a new job.