5 Surprising Ways Social Media is Affecting Healthcare - Social Songbird

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5 Surprising Ways Social Media is Affecting Healthcare

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From keeping up with friends and family to choosing for whom to vote in the coming election, social media drastically altered the way people gather and exchange information. Information about healthcare is no exception.

According to Mediabistro, 40 percent of the consumers surveyed said that information found through social media affects the way they view their health- and that's just from obvious social media use like people sharing articles on Facebook or Twitter. Social media's effect on the healthcare industry is actually much more profound.


social media and healthcare


Here are five ways in which social media is affecting healthcare that you might not expect:

Healthcare Organizations Need to Act Like Businesses


Unless you work in the healthcare industry, it's easy to forget that hospitals and other healthcare organizations are businesses. They're there when you need them, they treat you, and you pay your co-pay (if you have insurance). The disconnect between how much a visit costs and the services we receive makes it easy to forget that, just like any other business, they're thinking about the bottom line. They're also subject to all the usual best practices for social media.

  • They have (or should have) a comprehensive social media policy in place about what's appropriate for employees and patients to share on social media and what isn't.
  • They need to create a social media presence to allow them to interact with their patients and potential patients.
  • They recruit via social media.

Patient-to-Patient Websites

One of the more creative contributions social media has made to the healthcare industry in the last decade are patient-to-patient social networks such as PatientsLikeMe. Launched in 2004, PatientsLikeMe is a place where people can go to connect to others who are going through similar illnesses. It's a place for personal stories, medical histories, and questionnaires - a place of comfort.

social media and healthcare

One of the unique aspects of PatientsLikeMe is its openness about its business model - selling information to drug companies. It's really open about it, according to co-founder Ben Hollywood, because it's doing it for the greater good. Better patient information means drug companies will be able to make better, more targeted drugs and devices.

Doctor-to-Doctor Websites

At first glance, Practice Fusion doesn't seem like a social network. Basically, it gives doctors free access to cloud-based medical record storage and, in exchange, the website has advertisements.

"Why would doctors use it if it has ads?" you might ask.

Well, as mentioned above, medical organizations are businesses and this service is free. It also allows doctors to share medical records with any other doctor or hospital that uses Practice Fusion. With a network of about 150,000 medical professionals treating close to nearly 60 million patients, the free file sharing aspect of Practice fusion saves the healthcare industry a lot of paperwork.

Patient-to-Doctor Websites

Practice Fusion recently released a new service called Patient Fusion that CNN Money called, "TripAdvisor meets OpenTable for health care."

Patient Fusion allows patients to review doctors and check their schedule before calling the office to book an appointment. There are other Websites that already do this, but most require doctors to pay $300 per month to be listed. Usually doctors are will to pay that $300 per month because this kind of service is so convenient, but why pay when you don't have to?

Providing Quick and Reliable Healthcare Information

One of the newest additions to the healthcare social media sphere is a website called Healthtap. Perhaps inspired by Web MD, Healthtap is a place where you can go to ask your health related questions, which will then be fielded by one of its 1.2 million doctors. Because your question is fielded by a real person, you're much less likely to assume the worst and come down with a bad case of "Web MD-itus."

social media and healthcare

Healthtap also has little healthcare tips, a way for you to actually speak to doctors online, and a place for "doctor recommended wellness apps."

As you can see, social media is going to have a profound effect on the future of healthcare.

How does social media affect your healthcare decisions?


Emily is a freelance writer, specialising in web & SEO content. You can follow her on Twitter!

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/
5 Surprising Ways Social Media is Affecting Healthcare Reviewed by Alex Carson on Friday, May 09, 2014 Rating: 5
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