ver 90% of all adults in the United States own a cell phone. Over 50% of the population over 18 years of age also owns a smartphone or other mobile device, such as a tablet. The Millennials who grew up with the Internet use mobile devices more than any other group. As usage increases across other demographics, so does the quality of services, products and apps. This is true across industry. In healthcare, however, social media is just beginning to have its lucrative potential tapped.
Social Media – the Power to Connect
From connecting families to offering limited specials to loyal clients, social media has wide appeal for connecting people instantly to one another, as well as to pertinent products and services.
Healthcare social media offers similar connections with a medical-related twist. Consider the following facts:
90% of Millennials report that they are comfortable with obtaining health-related advice over the Internet.19% of all smartphone owners have at least one health-related app on their phone.
There was a 30% decrease in depressive symptoms observed in one study that tracked older patients becoming active on the Internet.Understanding current trends can help healthcare executives plan strategies to harness the power of social media in order to promote their products and services.
Social Media in Healthcare Works Both Ways
It isn’t just that patients are able to seek out medical information over the Internet, share information on health forums and read reviews before choosing a doctor. Healthcare providers can also communicate with patients in variety of ways:
New mobile devices and apps allow patients with chronic conditions to report health data to primary care practitioners directly.Medical practitioners can use social media to report new products and services, post health-related articles and direct chronic condition support groups.
In isolated areas, healthcare social media is revolutionizing access to better health services. Through video chat consultation and other social media applications, health aid workers can instantly connect with doctors thousands of miles away from a remote clinic.
Social media applications in healthcare are evolving at a rapid pace. At all levels, highly trained professionals are needed to create valuable apps and train healthcare workers and patients how to use more sophisticated technologies. They can also show professionals how to properly market products and services in light of current industry trends.
Johns Hopkins Leading the Way with Healthcare Social Media
In order for social media to be effective it needs to be responsive and relevant. Johns Hopkins is setting industry standards with their social media use, which includes:
Professional blogs from leading doctorsPopular facebook page where Johns Hopkins’ professionals respond to questions and concerns Twitter, Instagram and YouTube connections aimed at reaching a variety of community members from students to residents to patients and surgeonsPresence on other highly-regarded sites such as ShareCareTop-ranked Johns Hopkins offers a diversified model for reaching all levels of community constituents through a variety of social media avenues.
As healthcare social media continues to gain popularity, it is important to understand the multi-faceted levels of potential patient/client engagement. In addition, devising a comprehensive strategy to utilize all tools available can help organizations reach as many people as possible while using marketing dollars wisely and supporting overall organizational goals.