The use of social media in healthcare is continuously rising, especially with more people looking to the Internet for medical advice. Physicians and doctors using social media can provide a plethora of information to other professionals in the industry as well as patients looking to expand their knowledge. In addition to research, patients look to social media to learn about other patient experiences. Social media can serve as a means of communication without an appointment, but make sure you are utilizing your platform correctly.
Professional Use of Social Media in Healthcare
According to Mediabistro, over 40% of consumers testified that information found through social media affects the way they deal with their health. Instead of waiting for your appointment with a patient, social media gives a greater opportunity to influence daily routines and choices. Using social media to interact can limit the number of times you get the “No, I’m stubborn, and I didn’t do what you suggested in the last appointment” type of patient at a follow-up.
Interact with other Physicians & Doctors
There are many social networking websites designed specifically for the community of healthcare professionals. Maybe you can’t justify the time spent on personal social networking pages, but professional use is different. These specific platforms allow the opportunity to ask questions, as well as share information and opinions on certain topics.
Along with not having time to lead a personal social networking life, it might be hard to find free time to search for new findings in the medical world on your own. Through social media, you can see what your peers are sharing to at least get a clue on the latest developments and discoveries. When you finally find the time, you can dive deeper into the ones that interest you on your own.
Transparency is a controversial topic in the medical industry and by using social media in healthcare, providers can improve credibility. By posting on social media, both professionals and patients can get a better understanding of your work. It can also give patients a greater feeling of comfort when choosing you as their doctor/physician.
How Can Patients Benefit From Social Media in Healthcare?
Sometimes patients have questions to ask, but they don’t think of them until they get home from their appointment. By using the establishment’s social tool, they can just log on and ask away. Of course, they might not get an answer instantaneously, but it can be easier than calling and being put on hold until someone can get to them.
Patients can also look to other social media outlets for simple answers that they don’t need their specific doctor to answer. They realize that someone else out there probably has had the same issue, so they research and find an answer quickly.
Going along with the “you’re not alone” idea, people look to social media to connect with others experiencing the same thing. Many social networking sites provide forums for users to ask questions and have them answered by peers or professionals. Sometimes it can be frustrating to go through something alone that you’re not well educated on, so seeing someone else say “yeah, that happened to me too” can be reassuring.
Patients who are searching for healthcare can look to social media for information on doctors, hospitals, specialties, etc. This goes back to the transparency factor. Previous patients can provide reviews on social media and physicians can also build their own identity for users to see. Having this information can build confidence in choosing the right provider and care location.
Keep in mind that if social media is used with poor judgment or in an illegal manner, it will negatively affect your credibility as well as your employer’s. You could even lose your license to practice if you aren’t careful. If you are unsure of your establishment’s rules for social media or the current legal regulations, be sure to do some research before you start posting.