Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

How Social Media Is Shaking Up Healthcare

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Aug 8, 2017 2:46 AM

Before the internet became widely used, you likely visited your doctor and blindly took your doctor's advice as to the treatment you should undergo. Sometimes your doctor's advice suited your needs and sometimes it didn't. Without much easily-accessed information about your ailment, you probably did not question him.

If you really wanted to obtain information about your treatment options, you had to do a lot of research over the phone. You may have also obtained sales brochures from individual healthcare facilities. However, it was highly likely that you did not know about breakthrough treatment options in real-time that were available at clinics near you or at clinics abroad.

The Internet

Then the internet was invented and is now widely used. Just as most businesses do, hospitals and clinics create websites and advertise online. If these facilities come up in your online search, you can discover their websites and read about what each facility has to offer.

The internet gives you the ability to learn about your disease in detail. You can also research the latest treatment options, locate the closest healthcare facility that performs the desired procedure, and find out who the doctors are who perform that procedure.

You can even read about the reputation of individual doctors because that information is readily available from patient reviews and from other online places where patients exchange all sorts of information.

Social Media

Social media came along next. The first social media platform was Facebook, of course. Other general social media platforms have continued to be created ever since Facebook became popular. These platforms enable consumers, doctors and others to exchange information in a much more public way. The sharing aspect and the influence that friends have on their friends make social media particularly powerful, and the more progressive businesses have updated their marketing mixes to include social media.

Healthcare-Specific Social Media

Today there are also social media platforms that operate similarly to Facebook's platform which pertain just to the healthcare industry. The beauty of these platforms is that providers compete on the basis of the strength of what they offer rather than on how much money they can afford to pay for marketing.

If you sign up with one of these content-driven platforms, you can easily find out in real-time about cutting-edge and other treatments, where you can obtain treatment, what the prices are, and who the doctors are at the various medical facilities who perform them. One particular platform offers this information about medical centers that are located in over 60 countries.

Those who participate in these platforms must post something often, and it must be interesting content. Unlike Facebook, all of the various posts reach you and other members because you have signed up with the healthcare platform for the purpose of obtaining healthcare information. Because you and other consumers can frequently read what the various healthcare providers have to say, these providers' feet are held to the proverbial fire.

Like Facebook, you as a consumer can interact with people who work at these facilities through a messaging system. It is in the interest of these healthcare providers to quickly respond to your questions because they risk losing your business to another provider. At the same time, healthcare professionals must adhere to the American Medical Association guidelines regarding social media.

Only the providers who can deliver informative, interesting online content, cutting-edge treatments for the kind of facilities they are, and responsive online customer service will survive this kind of public scrutiny.

The Future of Healthcare-Specific Social Media

Providers participating in social media will utilize android and iOS apps for mobile devices.Healthcare facilities will also improve their analytics tools so they will better know who among us views their page, what keywords we used to find them, and how many views each of their posts received. Although all posts will be available to all members, particular posts will be directed to potential customers who search for specific treatments.Additionally, question and answer forums that include specific threads for specific information will also become more widespread.

 

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