Good news travels fast, bad news even faster…

Healthcare and Social Media

As a healthcare provider, you cannot afford to ignore that people are using online resources to research and choose their caregivers.

A recent study in the US showed, considerations when searching out healthcare online included :

  • Websites
  • Social Media
  • Health info
  • Doctor and Hospital recommendations
  • Reviews and Ratings

See full infographic from National Research (the largest online healthcare consumer survey in the U.S.) here –

But in brief it says this

31.6% of respondents said they would likely prefer a hospital based on its website
45.6% of respondents searched for health information via social media (greater numbers than those who used credible, scholarly research!)
33.8% asked for health advice through social media channels
57.7% of respondents rated their confidence in health information shared by social media

So what does all this information mean for you as a healthcare provider? In our world today – information sharing is important.
Good word-of-mouth stories can be your best marketing tool. But bad news travels fast—really fast.
More than ever, provision of the best patient and customer experiences possible is vital to prevent online harm to your business.

What can you do Improve your Business’s Digital Health?

It’s all about the customer’s perception and what they want from you as a healthcare provider.
Some take-aways from Ryan Donohue’s five-part blog series devoted to customer-centric healthcare include :

  • Focus on health, rather than illness. Customers view healthcare organizations, hospitals for example, as places of negativity.
  • Set a high bar for customer experience. Customers feel that healthcare providers lag behind their expectations and don’t provide the highest quality customer experience.
  • Make it simple! Healthcare providers are often viewed as a complex maze full of complications related to insurance and cost. This is one of the reasons why customers seek to find their own healthcare information (such as through social media and digital avenues) so they can avoid the hassle.

If, as healthcare providers, you can ease these perceptions, it’s possible to create long-lasting, positive experiences for patients and customers.
And remember – these experiences are shared, accessed and reported online.

Ryan also talks about the 3 W’s

  • Web: Going Online Is Option #1. Healthcare customers now go to the web first and foremost to aid their decision-making process. 
  • Wallet: Pervasiveness of Cost in Decision Making. Cost is the one constant in terms of customer decision making and was prevalent at every step of care delivery for the consumer.
  • Wellness: A Shift in Care Delivery. Customers searching for information do not just apply to services and treatment; they also seek tips to live a better life.

Bottom-Line for Healthcare Providers

  • Focus on your customer! And give them the feeling they are valued.
  • Make sure your organization is providing the best healthcare resources and quality of care.
  • Ensure your online presence is professional, accurate, up to date and user-friendly
  • Provide high-quality information
  • Respond to your customers on Social Media if they reach out to you this way
  • Give your clients the ability to influence their own care experience

Social Media Concerns addressed

I really like this wrap up from a recent post by Vividus

  1. Do not discuss your patients online –even seemingly anonymous comments can lead to identification.
  2. Do not practice medicine online – it seems obvious but is well worth being reminded of.
  3. Share information – keep your friends up to date with any new medical developments and promote quality care. Many Medical Institutes and Journals already have social media accounts, by following them and sharing relevant information you are encouraging knowledge growth.
  4. Focus on topics that interest you – by addressing societal issues that you are particularly passionate about the time spent managing your profile is enjoyable not taxing.
  5. Presume everything that you say can be found online again – even a deleted post can be seen again. Ask yourself before posting anything, even in a private message, would I mind if this was made public?

Stayed tuned for our Digital Marketing Health Check…..!
Just in Time Virtual Assistant offers a Business Health Check – including website and Social Media – book today!

Sources
National Research
Infographic
Ryan Donohue’s five-part blog series – part 1
Ryan Donohue’s five-part blog series – part 2
Social Media Concerns