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Customer Experience and Design

Connected Health Top 10: #5 The Next Evolution of Social Media

Top-Ten-300x298Over the course of the short history of Connected Health, there have been a few evolutions of social media in healthcare. These include:

  • 2011 – 2012: Healthcare provider adoption of social media was low
  • 2013 – 2014: Adoption is popular with varied levels of maturity. Focus is on relaying population health messaging and converting unknown consumers into patients.
  • 2015 – 2016: Going into the next two years, there will be another evolution of social media in healthcare. This will include the migration of consumers from large “mothership” social media sites like Facebook into private social networks. We will also see social functionality beginning to make its way into he patient portal. Lastly, analytics will be much more important to social media with direct ties to CRM and BI.

The ability for patients to connect with other individuals who are dealing with some of the same, or similar health issues, is a powerful draw towards private social networks. Over 40% of health consumers say that information they find on social media sites influences the way they deal with their health. According to Chilmark Research, patients also report their approval of their healthcare providers using social media for information that may help with a diagnosis or treatment option. In other words, social media has gained recognition and importance in healthcare as one of the influencers that can assist with, and improve upon, the quality of care.

In 2015 social media’s influence will continue to grow as doctors involve themselves more fully. Examples include physicians reaching patients on private, secure Facebook pages tracking their patient’s chronic care management. Patients, particularly those under 40, are becoming more involved with social media sites to understand and manage their health issues, which indicates significant changes for communication in healthcare going forward.

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Melody Smith Jones

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