There is no doubt that health care and social media belong together. Today’s medicine is all about the patient. The social media patient is a savvy consumer searching the Internet for specific health information, support and reassurance. In spite of this, there are still many physicians and other medical professionals that continue to doubt the value of social media.
Most of you that visit us here at Digital Solutions often are not among those doubters. You know that social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Blogs are not time wasters because of the value they offer to both physician and patient. You realize that healthcare professionals who actively engage in social media are at the fore-front of modern medicine.
Social networking sites and blogs are a potent platform for educating patients, raising awareness of health issues, and offering a forum for collaboration and connection. New media like Facebook, Twitter, web sites, and blogs give patients a voice they have never known before. Social media also gives you, as the medical professional, an ideal platform to introduce yourself and your practice to a broader audience than could have ever been known a generation ago.
A Recent Pew Internet Study Noted:
“The internet has changed people’s relationships with information. Our data consistently shows that doctors, nurses, and other health professionals continue to be the first choice for most people with health concerns, but online resources, including advice from peers, are a significant source of health information in the U.S.”
The study was based on a telephone survey conducted in late 2010 with 3,100 across the United States. The study found:
- 80% of internet users have looked online for information about any of 15 health topics such as a specific disease or treatment. This translates to 59% of all adults. Tweet This
- 34% of internet users, or 25% of adults, have read someone else’s commentary or experience about health or medical issues on an online news group, website, or blog. Tweet This
- 25% of internet users, or 19% of adults, have watched an online video about health or medical issues. Tweet This
- 24% of internet users, or 18% of adults, have consulted online reviews of particular drugs or medical treatments. Tweet This
- 18% of internet users, or 13% of adults, have gone online to find others who might have health concerns similar to theirs. Tweet This
- 16% of internet users, or 12% of adults, have consulted online rankings or reviews of doctors or other providers. Tweet This
- 15% of internet users, or 11% of adults, have consulted online rankings or reviews of hospitals or other medical facilities. Tweet This
Of those who use social network sites (62% of adult internet users, or 46% of all adults):
- 23% of social network site users, or 11% of adults, have followed their friends’ personal health experiences or updates on the site. Tweet This
- 17% of social network site users, or 8% of adults, have used social networking sites to remember or memorialize other people who suffered from a certain health condition. Tweet This
- 15% of social network site users, or 7% of adults, have obtained health information on the sites. Tweet This
People are online even more now a year after that study. They are searching for healthcare information through healthcare professionals engaged in social networking. For further information on the value of social media, check out our article, How Can a Plastic Surgeon Determine the Value of Social Media?