Social Media in Healthcare
On a rainy Friday, we took Barri Blauvelt, CEO out on the porch at Innovara to discuss social media in healthcare. Here’s what she had to say:
Social media is a double-edged sword in healthcare, but to me, the positives outweigh the negatives.
Traditionally, there has been a lack of transparency in healthcare. Social media takes what may not have been transparent in the past and makes it very transparent today. Hospitals afraid of social media probably have good reason to be. Those who aren’t afraid of it probably have good reasons to be proud of their quality and accomplishments.
It is also important for healthcare providers and institutions to realize that it is happening, whether you try to control it or not–so better to understand it, work with it, and be proactive. I’d advise leaders of healthcare to use social media as a free “early response system” to gain patient and consumer insights virtually in real time, and to be prepared to respond to or leverage it in real time, as well.
In addition, they can seed it. Consumer goods and internet-based businesses identify and work with consumer thought leaders. Why can’t we do the same with healthcare consumer thought leaders?
Of course, there is a lot of concern around the security of health information on the web and in social media. That’s another reason it is so important to work with the same media to improve the quality of information. Mayo does it really well; it is a good example that other institutions could follow and link to. Building social media strengths strategically also drives the creation of powerful networks and improves the chances of consumers channeling to credible information. Investing in SEO is key.
I recently learned from a digital management expert that blogging gets more leads in healthcare than paid advertising. That’s another high-impact social media avenue that doctors aren’t comfortable with. Look at the positive side–they can get published instantly! There’s more good news… consumers don’t care about impact factor or tenure. If they like what you say, they will seek you out.
Finally, there’s digital health, with social media driving a lot of the buzz on telemedicine, telehealth, mobile health and apps, wearables, implantables, and more. It’s a rapidly growing reality. Either become more engaged with with your patients virtually, or accept the reality that other doctors and healthcare systems will while you’ll be left behind.
Today’s healthcare consumer is definitely moving in that direction, as is CMS. So it’s time for healthcare providers and their organizations to get wet and catch that wave.
Need help catching the wave? We offer a course on Digital Healthcare Marketing™, available from the Innovara Marketing Academy: