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Hospitals in need of social media strategies

Posted on April 24th, 2012 by

According to a report by consulting firm PwC, 41 percent of consumers choose their hospital, facility or doctor based on social media like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Of a thousand consumers polled, 45 percent said social media would affect their decision to get a second opinion; 34 percent said it would influence their decision to take a certain medication and 32 percent said it would affect their decision to go with a specific insurance plan.

Nebraska Medical Center's Lied Transplant Tower

Nebraska Medical Center’s Lied Transplant tower. NMC ranked No. 5

The research isn’t exactly new. Fifty-seven percent of consumers polled last summer by YouGov Healthcare said that a hospital’s social media connections would influence their decision to seek treatment from that facility. Fierce Healthcare reported the story and it seems that a few hospitals have taken notice.

Posting to social media and having a one-way conversation doesn’t seem to be the solution for healthcare providers. Consumers expect feedback and interaction. This is where services offered by Social Media Contractors would come into play. SMC monitors a company’s numerous social media outlets for consumer feedback and alerts that company to interactions that require their attention.

Some hospitals have taken the news last summer and developed effective social media strategies. Ragan’s PR Daily lists 20 hospitals that are doing social media right. Topping the list is the Mayo Clinic with it’s Mayo Clinic Center For Social Media that offers advice for other healthcare providers worried about embracing social media without violating HIPPA privacy concerns. They even rhyme while doing it. Number 5 on the list is the Nebraska Medical Center, which used YouTube to describe a particular type of cancer and show how they treat it. The influence of social media is even prevalent in their recent traditional media strategy. Commercials for the Nebraska Medical Center offer real patients telling their stories of how the Nebraska Medical Center helped them.

Healthcare providers have demonstrated a concern for navigating social media without opening themselves up to a lawsuit. Still, many have demonstrated that this is doable. And those hospitals and doctors who do not embrace social media may find themselves quickly becoming irrelevant.

By Matt Goodlett

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