By some estimates, hospitals have been behind the social media adoption curve. Unlike retail and service businesses, health systems and hospitals have had to navigate HIPAA considerations, find solid ground in healthcare’s changing landscape, and struggle with ever-present limitations of time and budget.
Fortunately, that’s changing. Organizations recognize the considerable benefits of social media and are increasingly moving past traditional barriers. Nationwide, upward of 90 percent of hospitals are using at least one social platform to communicate with, inform and engage patient, employee and community audiences.
Fishing where the fish are…
With more than one billion (that’s with a B) Facebook users, and hundreds of millions of Twitter users, it’s evident that the audience is already online with these major social forums. But your social media voice can also include your blog, networking and special interest groups, video sharing sites, and many others. Individuals look online for health information, and their personal health decisions are often guided by what they discover.
Using these “social media” tools is—as some marketing executives say—fishing where the fish are. More specifically, social media is a recognized channel to inform, engage and build relationships. The top priorities for social media, according to the A Healthy Dose of Social Media survey of Ohio Hospital Association members, include building community relationships, sharing hospital news, building local reputation and connecting with patients/families.
In the OHA survey, “Participating hospitals are primarily focused on building community relationships, sharing hospital news and building their local reputations through social media… [and] are less focused on using social media to connect with peers in health care, fundraising, issue advocacy or building their national reputation.”
The challenges of expanding socially…
Not surprisingly, many Ohio Hospitals are planning to increase their social efforts, but all-too-familiar resource constraints—limitations of staff time and budget—continue to be challenges. For more about the Ohio Hospital Association survey, click through here.
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