The use of social media has grown significantly in health care. It’s now an accepted resource for learning, research, communication, and marketing.
In the past, hospital staff seemed to be restricted in utilising social media, whilst medical advancements were streaming information across these channels.
Times have changed. Hospitals are now promoting their own social media channels and encourage staff to contribute by supporting the brand and services offered.
Health care is a highly competitive market. Providers need to engage with potential patients and staff, prove their suitability and promote their capacity to serve.
Platforms such as Facebook and YouTube are commonly used in health care today. To rely solely on your company website, is just not good enough any more.
Professional Circles in Health
Health care workers utilise social media in their own professional circles. They connect, share ideas and views, and meet with each other at global conferences and events.
There are a number of health-related topics being published across social media channels, with a passionate and dedicated group of followers.
Professional connections and shared passions drive a high level of support for the significant health issues we face today.
Even medical equipment companies create their own pages related to these topics, to enhance promotion of their products, services and related experience in this field.
Benefits of Social Media for Patients
Another major change is more and more patients are now sharing their health issues online. They are connecting with people in similar circumstances and chatting in groups dedicated to the related topic. This type of communication can help patients to:
- Come to terms with their medical condition
- Reduce fear and break down barriers
- Research their condition and treatment methods
- Investigate recommendations of health services and specialists
- Improve their lifestyle for the sake of their health
- Engage with like-minded people who understand
When you suffer from a medical condition that affects your quality of life, this level of communication can be vital in maintaining mental well-being.
The medical condition itself invariably affects our mental status, which is not always addressed as a considerable factor in the healing process.
Health service providers and professionals worldwide are utilising social media to enhance the promotion of their services and capabilities. They connect with other professionals and engage with patients via specific social media groups.
Home Care Service in Australia
In Australia, home health care services have increased significantly. Home care service providers such as Silver Chain, are utilising digital technology like Telehealth, to increase reach and improve effectiveness in health care delivery.
In regional Australia, patients are monitoring their own vital signs and sending live data to clinicians for immediate review. It’s less intrusive, it saves time, and diagnosis of concerning changes can be acted upon quickly and effectively.
Technology of this level is invaluable to the patient, their families, clinicians and care givers. Telehealth technology:
- Significantly reduces travel and consulting time
- Allows clinicians to monitor more patients in a day
- Integrates patients and their families in the health care plan and strategy
- Provides a cost-effective solution to the rising health care issues in regional Australia
This video from Silver Chain shows the benefit of Telehealth in the midwest regional zone of Western Australia.
Where does social media fit in? It compliments all other digital marketing services and is part of the equation in promoting business growth, connecting with patient groups and providing ongoing education.
One other digital technology worth mentioning is online learning and education. E-learning programs are being utilised to educate health care workers and end users.
Promotion of E-learning is becoming more prominent in social media, the reach is significant and the technology is expanding.
In my view, providing direct training to staff is still the most effective way of delivering training in health care. Many functions require a physical action, which is not easily articulated in online training.
However, components of training can be covered more effectively through E-learning, reducing time spent onsite performing physical and functional training.
Delivering training via video conferencing can also be very effective, especially when time and distance are significant factors.
With the growth in social media marketing, businesses need to understand their target audience and provide engaging content that’s of real interest to this group of people.
When you utilise social media to promote your business, you also need to be aware that you open yourself up for criticism and complaints. Be prepared, and ensure you manage this professionally and plan your responses for every scenario.
There is so much information streaming through social media channels, it’s hard to ignore the opportunities it can bring to your own business. Time to step into the future, and join the social media boom.
Share your own experience with social media in health care today. We’d love to know how you utilise this technology in your work space.