Social Media: The Way it is Moving the Healthcare Industry

Social media has indeed invaded the realms of the healthcare industry from three perspectives namely patient communities, medical centers and innovative startups. The current Health 2.0 movement made for dozens of creative concepts in revolutionizing healthcare from social networks to wellness apps and content aggregators.

Patient communities are now slowly adopting and environment covered by social media both through the main social communities and condition specific slates. Many hospitals and academic centers are now integrating into the social media frenzy with around 300 YouTube channels and thousands of Twitter accounts. Hospitals are slowly using social media for brand loyalty and also in recruiting new patients.

There are also plenty of healthcare organizations who are finding challenges with the use of social media. Medical practices and hospitals are usually cautious about technology trends that won’t have clear value. There are still questions about social media being a waste of time for employees or worse leak propriety information. Many of the hospital IT offices are also concerned about security measures.

How Doctors are Taking Advantage of Social MediaThere are several social media sites with exclusive memberships for physicians only like SocialMD, Ozmosis and Sermo. These social networking sites give doctors a chance to connect with other medical practitioners and share knowledge, medical opinions and etc. A lot of big Pharma brands are also developing their very own service portals where doctors can download updated medical journals and conduct live video conferencing with the company’s representatives.Social media is also taking a significant role in providing information to physicians for enhancing their practices. Physicians can now conveniently update their practices and trends within their respective specialties. Smartphone apps, widgets and other tools are gaining a lot of demands. As more and more doctors are becoming smartphone users, the demand for medical-related apps are also increasing from calculations to seeing videos of surgical procedures.

Nowadays, there are emerging healthcare provider blogs like KevinMD which features a doctor’s perspective on healthcare related issues but in a way that even nonmedical people can comprehend. As a result of these blogs, they are unleashing mysteries behind medical decisions and are humanizing the healthcare industry- indeed a powerful social force has begun.

Current Social Media Trends in Healthcare

Some of the current social media trends for healthcare include engaging virtual patients, social media as a tool for medical practice, convergence of personal health records and managing client conversations. The continuous rise of e-patients creates several engagement opportunities. E-patients may provide feedback not only by enhancing hospital sites but also participate in quality control within the healthcare system.

Social Media in Healthcare: What Lies Ahead

Social media is believed to stay in healthcare for the next years to come but will also evolve rapidly. The aspect of patient engagement is projected to characterize a rapid change. Health organizations will use social media in their communication and marketing efforts. Videos and mobile apps will continually rule in these approaches. Many online patient communities are bound to expand and will be rich information sources. Social media will also play a significant role in advancing medical research.