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There’s always been a stigma surrounding healthcare marketing… There needn’t be though… As with anything, when done correctly it can prove to be a useful, and fascinating, resource. Healthcare is an ever-changing industry and social media has, and will continue to, contribute to this change.
From an organization’s perspective social media can prove to be an essential marketing tool, allowing clinics and hospitals to boost their products, services, experiences and even promote the venue itself. Informed consumers can find recommendations and reviews of the services, products and healthcare standards offered at a given venue. It can also provide first-hand information to those who’d like to try the venue or service for themselves and inform them of any developments and deals that are taking place, as they happen.
Social media, for those organizations that utilize it, allows them to share helpful health and medical information, provide patient care and customer service, all in real-time. It also allows potential patients to fact-find and ask questions before visiting a clinic so that they can quickly understand the organization, their principles, as well as what they offer; from their promotions, products and services through to their staff.
Social media management can also empower users to assume more responsibility for their own health and take measures to become more self-reliant. Social media can encourage healthy behavior, motivate patients to take action, improve the quality of healthcare and encourage change. If harnessed correctly healthcare organizations can use social media to instigate this change and inspire readers to take steps to improve their lives.
Social networking makes staying healthy easier, more effective, and more meaningful, as it allows users to tap into their immediate network’s experience and get instant advice from friends, other patients and even Doctors.
Social media can also prove to be a valuable source of information for patients and Doctors alike. It allows the quick and easy dissemination of medical information and updates, as well as a forum for simple questions and queries to be answered. Attention must be paid to ensure patient care comes first though, and individual queries should be addressed privately, as information that is applicable to one patient will not necessarily be relevant to another, and in some cases could prove lethal. Diagnosis through social media should not be treated lightly either, as diagnosing and advising patients can be difficult without seeing them or understanding the full picture first.
Social relationships between doctor and patient should be treated cautiously too, it’s a thin line that can easily be confused, and close attention should be paid when dealing with patients in a social space. Doctors should tread carefully as they risk jeopardizing their personal reputation, as well as that of the Clinic/Hospital where they work if things go awry.
In short, social media can be invaluable for information and fact finding, but caution should be taken with sending professional or medical advice. The social media space should be more about allowing healthcare institutes and the professionals who work within healthcare to become more accessible to patients and other staff, as well as being a means to gather information and learn of developments and changes in the industry.
In a world that is becoming more technologically driven, it’s essential to stay abreast of these changes and developments. But remember to proceed with caution, and possibly a pinch of salt and skepticism.