Is Social Media Changing Healthcare?

 
How Social Media Is Changing Healthcare

Many of us have self-quarantined the last few months. In an effort to avoid infection.

This has resulted in fewer visits to the grocery store. And having food and other items delivered.

It’s also meant staying out of places we enjoy going to. Including restaurants, theaters and libraries.

And it has meant fewer trips to the doctor’s office. Many of us have skipped routine visits because we don’t want to risk exposure.

Plenty of Medical Info & Advice

Enter social media. Social networks have allowed us to maintain contact with loved ones and friends.

It’s also a way to gain medical information and advice. And communicate with physicians. For medical personnel, it’s a tool for training.

Today I want to discuss how social media has affected healthcare. Some 60 percent of doctors say it improves their patient care quality.

Perhaps you’ll see some things here that will help you with your healthcare needs.

Businesses Are Heavily Invested

We’ve all seen how social media has altered the business landscape. Almost everyone uses this avenue to increase awareness and sales.

More than 90 percent of groups use Linked-In to recruit new workers. Companies have helped make YouTube the world’s second largest search engine.

Groupon is a global e-commerce marketplace. It reached $1 billion in revenue faster than any other group in history.

Some 93 percent of marketers use social media for business. Why? Because only 14 percent of people trust ads. But 90 percent trust peer reviews.

Connecting With Customers

Now we’re seeing the same type of thing happening in healthcare.

When healthcare groups take the social media plunge, they find their customers are there.

They see their customers’ comments. And that helps them better tailor items and services to them.

Many people are interested in obtaining medical advice through the Web. As well as communicating directly with nurses and physicians.

It has also become a tool for health education. And for helping train current and future medical personnel.

Telehealth Is Growing

Among the top recent healthcare innovations has been something being called telehealth.

People were being “seen” by doctors through their computers and cell phones. Even before they were hesitant to enter medical facilities.

These virtual visits save time and funds. And they help patients stay away from other ill folks.

More and more health providers are adding telehealth services to their plans. Not only that, but patients are now able to access private medical information through the Web. In addition to their virtual visits.

The number of healthcare apps has tripled since 2014.

Live From the OR

Even the operating room has become open to social media. Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan became one of the first to tweet a live operating room procedure.

It was a kidney surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. Doctors, medical students and non-medical personnel were able to observe. And see surgeons’ comments along the way.

The Mayo Clinic has also used social media. To train representatives for the American Heart Association.

This allowed trainees to ask questions and receive quick answers. It also provided trainers with feedback. This was used to determine how much more instruction was needed.

Journalists Are Tuning In

Many healthcare groups use their active presence on these sites. How? To communicate activities and learnings to the media.

Blogs, forums and microblogs are utilized. They share success stories from unusual operations and treatments.

This works. Seventy percent of journalists use social communication networks in their reporting.

This helps medical groups gain the attention of mainstream media. As well as industry publications.

Crisis Communications

Soc is also used by healthcare personnel to communicate information during emergencies. Such as disease outbreaks.

Their updates on Facebook can help those affected by the crisis to make decisions.

Including what safety precautions to take and which areas to avoid. And even to learn how crowded a local medical facility might be.

This type of crisis communications can be a huge help to those who need information in real time.

Connecting Patients With Patients

Self-diagnosis has become more prevalent due to social media. Nearly three-fourths of patients search for information online about their condition. That’s before scheduling a doctor’s visit.

The downside is the considerable amount of misinformation on the Web. It’s best to consult a variety of reputable sites.

Inspire.com is a healthcare social network. It builds support groups for patients and caregivers. And connects patients to life science groups.

Patients are able to share their conditions with other patients. And with medical personnel. Similar sites include PatientsLikeMe.com and HealthGrades.com.

Healthcare is clearly taking the next step in its evolution. Social communication is the highway on which it will travel.

About Jeff Reagan, Editor, Jeff Reagan's Daily Health Newsletter for Conservatives

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