Healthcare providers turn to social media
As economic challenges continue to plague the healthcare system in the United States, some are turning to social media in search of an answer.
Peter DeVries from the University of Houston believes that effective social media marketing could be a way of providing people with healthcare advice that doesn't break the bank.
In an article published in the International Journal of Electronic Finance, Mr DeVries argues that investing in a social media videoconferencing platform may also improve patient-doctor relationships and even create a new source of revenue for healthcare providers.
"We are seeing companies linking to social media sites from their corporate websites to form closer relationships with their customers," he said on May 10.
In addition, his research suggests that there will be a shortage in trained health professionals such as family doctors by 2020 – which is why he believes that those in the industry need to start looking outside the square if they want to meet growing demand.
"Doctors and hospitals must find ways to provide healthcare in more productive and efficient ways," he asserted.
Mr DeVries' article comes shortly after PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released results from its social media and healthcare survey in April.
According to the report – Social media likes healthcare: From marketing to social business – more people are turning to sites such as Facebook and Twitter to seek advice about health conditions.
PwC US health industries leader Kelly Barnes believes that social media provides patients with an avenue where they can "expect an immediate response" – opening up a chance for healthcare organisations to start a conversation with their patients.
"Health organisations have an opportunity to use social media as a way to better listen, participate in discussions and engage with consumers in ways that extend their interaction beyond a clinical encounter.
"Savvy adopters are viewing social media as a business strategy, not just a marketing tool," she said.
Posted by Jess O'Connor