Is Health Care the Last to get on the Social Media Bus?

17 Feb

How would you feel if your family practitioner had a blog where you can stay up to date on the latest medical technologies? Would you join a hospital’s Facebook page or receive Tweets or text messages?

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Social Media and Health Care are not synonymous. However, with the ever-growing trends of social media usage and ongoing budget constraints, this industry has had to rethink their strategy.

According to iHealthBeat, social media has invaded the industry on three fronts: innovative start-ups, patient communities and medical centers. This new movement has allowed for the development of innovative tools like vertical search and social networks, to health content aggregators and wellness tools. Hospitals are now utilizing social media to increase brand loyalty and recruit new patients.

The medical community is naturally risk adverse so adopting new technologies like social media tend to bring up the red flag. As this new phenomenon continues to grow, the medical industry will need to find ways of community to new and current patients using mobile applications and social media.

This effort will not be without its challenges. As the head Marketing & PR at a Chicago area hospital, I am constantly having internal discussions about why we should get into the social media space. The answer can’t be because our competitors are doing it. The answer has to show ROI, have conversations with our patients and then, of course, our competition down the street is doing it.

What we do know is that you need to know your target market. Is your target market involved with social media? Most importantly who is the internal champion who will be responsible for monitoring?

If we can convert 1/10 of that 90% of physicians who are using the internet and have smart phones to believing that social media is not the devil, this industry would be further along than it is now. Maybe the Groundswell effort will need to happen and our patients will start demanding our presence. Do you think that will make this industry get on the social media bus?


1 Comment

Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


One response to “Is Health Care the Last to get on the Social Media Bus?

  1. divaonadimea

    February 18, 2012 at 4:45 am

    You make excellent points about there being a need for health care presence on social media. Many private practitioners are reluctant to do any more than the online business card approach when it comes to social media. However similar to WebMd and other sources that have fulfilled a social media need by provide answers to common health questions, other health care providers could do the same. Great though provoking post!.


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