How Social Media is Driving Today’s Healthcare Decisions

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

Female nurse standing in front of chalk board with question marks on itThe buying public has moved…from indoors to online. And healthcare is not far behind. Retail business has shifted from familiar big-name brands to online-based providers. Some of the biggest names in retail merchandising aren’t nearly as big anymore.

Sears, JCPenney, Macy’s and many other department store chains have downsized and properties have closed. We’ve lost track of the exact numbers, but about 17 national firms have shuttered several hundred retail locations.

This trend has been fueled largely by the pervasive convenience of the Internet. In the retail world, the general public has embraced online buying as never before. As of 2016 year-end, Amazon (market value of $356B) had become larger than the combined value of branded brick and mortar retailers (8 retailers at $298B).

Amazon is bigger - Visual Capitalist chart

[Credit: Chart by Visual Capitalist]

Today’s health care shopper is also online…

In addition to the countless health and wellness websites and a similar number of practice and personal sites by hospitals, medical groups, doctors, surgeons and other providers—it turns out that health is happening on major social networks.

"health at major social networks" infographic

PwC Health Research Institute

Healthcare’s prevailing marketing venue is definitely digital, where no less than 40 percent of users are researching consumer reviews and what others say about doctors or treatments. What’s more, it’s a serious give-and-take proposition—over 30 percent use YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to find and to share info and opinions.

"Likelihood to trust or share via social media" infographic

The largest audience group, Millennials, are “digital natives.” They have always had the Internet and social media in their lives. For this group in particular, as well as many other sectors, interaction via social media means trusting and/or sharing information. Doctors and hospitals top the list for both trust and share.

And social media impacts health decisions…

Among the most significant influences of social media on the decision process are: seeking a second opinion (45 percent), choosing a specific hospital or medical facility (41 percent), and selecting a specific doctor.

"social media affecting health decisions" infographic

It’s clear that the Internet and social media have changed consumer habits. Both merchandise and medicine are presented and selected online. Customer service, as well as the significant interaction of online comments and reviews, drive the shopping and the decision process. Social media plays a vital role in bringing new patients and cases to you. Give us a call. Please let us know when we can talk about your healthcare marketing.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



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