Is social media appropriate for hospitals? According to a white paper by Healthcare Association of New York State, hospitals without a social media presence may be seen as sketchy as a legitimate company that does not have a website (http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Hospitals-check-into-social-media-4062814.php). The white paper also states that hospitals are seen as more cutting edge when involved with social media. If this is the case, why are so many hospitals either slow to get onboard or not onboard at all. For these hospitals who are not on social media, could mean larger losses of patient revenue? It could. Comparing two hospitals – Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and Saint Anthony Hospital in Chicago, we will be able to see the differences in how they both take on social media in their perspective arenas.
Saint Anthony Hospital (SAH), a 151-bed, faith-based community hospital on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Saint Anthony has a Facebook page that has 233 likes. SAH joined Facebook in March of 2012. Since March, there has been inconsistent postings. However, it appears that when events occur, they upload pictures in a timely fashion.
With 17 followers on Twitter, SAH has not been able to generate a strong following. There has been 25 tweets which match up to postings on Facebook.
SAH doesn’t appear to have a YouTube channel but there are videos that appear on several other channels where they are either featured or mentioned.
Blogs also do not seem to be part of their social media strategy as there are no blogs for the hospital.
LinkedIn is being utilized by SAH for primarily job postings. There are 266 employees that are connected.
Either SAH is early in its stint with social media or they don’t have a clear strategy to provide them with the opportunities that are being left on the table. If a clear strategy is not established, could they be seen as an organization that is not cutting edge which could risk patient revenue?
On the other hand, Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit academic medical center in Ohio is a highly recognized medical facility that offers highly specialized care. Is there social media reflective of the care that they offer?
According to many, Mayo Clinic is the leader in social media. The clinic may not be the leader in social media but it is quite obvious that they have a presence in all aspects of social media – blogs, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. It is definitely giving Mayo Clinic a run for their money with their multiple blogs that seem to be based on service lines as well as a blog from their CEO and some of their physicians.
The clinic has three Facebook pages totally approximately 270,000 likes. They have managed to post regularly to their main page. On the Cleveland Clinic In Your Community Facebook page, they do a good job at responding to comments. This page seems to focus more on the clinic’s engagement with the community through its foundation. The other page called Cleveland Clinic Wellness is specific to exercise, healthy eating and healthy living. There are postings regularly but not a lot of 2-way conversation. Then the general clinic Facebook with over 200k likes has significant postings with no comments on posts with questions. It appears that the Foundation has figured out how to engage their audience the best.
Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are all used regularly. Content tends to be different on all sites. This makes it apparent that the Clinic has a social media strategy that integrates into its business strategy.
After reviewing both hospitals I agree that having a strong social media strategy that supports the business strategy is the best way to increase patient revenue and visibility of the hospital services. More importantly, community hospitals will need to pay attention to what some of the larger institutions are doing with their social media to remain relevant in their communities.