Customer Experience and Design

Why Healthcare Organizations are Embracing Social Media

It is no secret that the role of social media in health care continues to evolve and be better defined. As health care professions begin to venture into this new space many red flags and warnings are being issued. Dr. Brian Vartabedian of the Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine and collegues from the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media posted an interesting blog titled Social Media, Residents and Responsibility. What makes this blog interesting is the fact that doctors and respectable entities are condoning the use of online social media outlets for health care professionals, because if done properly the benefits of online communication far outweigh the costs.

Why social media and why the uptick in interest amongst healthcare professionals and entities? The video notes that social media is a way to get the right information to patients and that this is a critical point because patients are getting more involved in their care.

As health care professionals look forward approaches to incorporate health care social media into a practice need to be established. However, health care social media outlets should not limit themselves by thinking that social media means Twitter and Facebook. Incorporating social media into your health care business plan is about best practices and procedures. Social media endevours are simply stated – another way to address the demands from health care consumers.

The role of patients within the healthcare industry is evolving and requires new Utilization Management methods. Patients, especially Generation X patients, are demanding a more robust health care environment that is patient centered. Their demands for electronic medical record access, doctor competency scores, hospital infection rates, procedure prices, etc. are being met. As these demands gain momentum, firms will be forced to examine how social media fits into their business objectives and acknowledge how it has changed the traditionally inelastic healthcare demand curve into an elastic healthcare curve with a competitive landscape.

Moving forward it is important to dig into what consumers are demanding to ensure that (1) they can get what they want, and (2) the organization is properly outfitted to meet consumers new demands.

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Amanda Buie

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