The healthcare industry wasn’t exactly an early adopter when it came to making social media a part of medical practices and facilities, but that is changing and patients are driving the change. Across the web, there are dozens of studies that illustrate how patients are using social media for everything from choosing doctors to discussing health conditions.
Social Media in Healthcare
At MyAdvice, we handle social media for many of our clients. Even if we don’t, we’re believers in its value for every practice. And while many practitioners aren’t overly excited about some aspects of social media and how it relates to their practice, it’s not going anywhere. Practices that stay on the sidelines are not only missing out on potential new patients but also run the risk of seeming old and outdated.
60% of patients say they visited a Facebook page before making a purchasing decision. -ScreenWerk
You need to consider how your patients may be finding you or your competitors.
Here are some more statistics involving social media and healthcare from various sources.
Younger people use social media for health-related discussions.
As you would assume, people age 18-24 are twice as likely to use social media when discussing health issues than those 45-54. This statistic from Mediabistro shows the importance of social media as a way for your practice to engage younger patients.
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Over 40% of people used social media to find methods to cope with a chronic health condition, for information on diet and exercise, and for help choosing a doctor.
This Mediabistro study shows that 40 percent of people are using social media for sources of information on health topics. To stay relevant your practice needs to provide information on areas you specialize. For instance, if you have an orthopaedic practice, providing tips on dealing with the osteoarthritis would be helpful for your patients and potential patients.
When someone requests an appointment or follow-up discussion via social media, they expect a response within a few hours.
It’s one thing to have a presence on social media such as Facebook. But you also have to engage with it regularly. This statistic from HealthCare Finance News shows people expect relatively immediate interaction from the practice.
You can leverage social media messaging on your own site, below you can message our Facebook page directly! Feel free to reach out with any questions. This user experience is what is expected of online users now and healthcare is no exception.
Social media posts and activity by doctors is trusted over any other group.
Infographics Archive posted this statistic showing that 60% of social media users respect and value the opinions of doctors over other sources on social media. Your social media engagement has an inherent degree of trust, which is something to utilize for patient engagement.
Two thirds of doctors use social media for professional purposes.
These doctors said they preferred using an open forum rather than a physician-only online community. This seems to point to the fact that the transparency fostered by social media, where patients can instantly post opinions/reviews of a visit to a healthcare provider, is also popular with the practitioners themselves.
60% of doctors say social media improves the quality of care delivered.
This statistic from Demi & Cooper Advertising shows that doctors believe the transparency and authentic nature of social media is making healthcare providers improve their care. After all, a bad interaction/experience can now be shared and discussed widely almost instantly.
41% of respondents said social media affects their choice of doctors, hospitals, or other medical facilities.
Social media is the instant mouthpiece of both positive and negative word of mouth. This statistic from Demi & Cooper Advertising shows that healthcare isn’t immune to this trend. Your practice needs to be in on the discussion.
Over 40% of consumers say information gleaned from social media affects the way they deal with their health.
This stat from Mediabistro (coupled with the trust factor detailed above) illustrates the potential for a practice to post information that is helpful to its patients and potential patients. With the propensity for misleading information on the Internet, doctors can use their inherent level of trust to post information that is beneficial…and believed.
90% of 18- to 24-year-olds said they would trust medical information shared by others on their social media networks.
While millennials may be young and healthy, they still need healthcare. When seeking information, they trust their circle on social media. This is an opportunity for a practice to connect with this group through your social media forums.
Where do people go for health-related information online?
These are the most used resources for health-related information, according to Mashable:
- 56% WebMD
- 31% Wikipedia
- 29% Health magazine websites
- 17% Facebook
- 15% YouTube
- 13% Blogs
- 12% Patient communities
- 6% Twitter
- 27% None of the above
Healthcare & Social Media
Watch a recent webinar on how healthcare providers can have an effective Social Media Strategy
Post Patient Reviews
Social media for healthcare providers can have many benfits to help your patient engagement but also help share patient’s experiences. Embed your practice’s social media reviews directly on your site!
Social media is impacting most areas of society, including healthcare. Your practice needs to be a part of the discussion. If you’re uncomfortable getting your feet wet, we handle social media for our practices every day, everything from creating Facebook posts to keeping an eye on reputation/review sites such as RealSelf and Yelp. Give us a shout and let’s give your practice the social media presence it needs.