Have you sent a Tweet to your local hospital yet? Don’t laugh – 64% of hospitals are already using Twitter.*
Many of the trends that healthcare is seeing in Twitter and other social media platforms will become more mainstream in 2014. The payoff will be great - hospitals and doctors will be able to build stronger relationships with their customers.
These are four top trends I think will emerge in 2014 and beyond for social media in healthcare.
Patient engagement – 41% of patients say that social media affects their choice of provider in some way*. More providers will realize this and use social media to do a better job of communicating with patients with things like ER wait times, community crisis information and even live Tweets of medical procedures.DIY Health Sites – More patients are taking a do-it-yourself approach to their treatments, and looking to connect with sites that can offer guidance. Health care providers will step in to this role increasingly in 2014.
“Edutainment” sites - There is also a growing trend of online sites that offer health and wellness tools, or “edutainment.” These sites put a fun spin on steps we can take to keep healthy, like tracking exercise or diet. More healthcare providers will roll out their own sites so they can better connect with their patients. It’s a $1.7 billion industry that’s projected to reach $6 billion by 2015*.
Predicting Trends – The next big thing will be predictive analytics. In the not-too-distant future, healthcare providers will be able to use people’s conversations online to predict large scale health events, like flu outbreaks. By having this knowledge available, health systems will be better able to prepare with staffing and supplies before their clinics become swamped with sick people.