Incorporating Social Media into Health Care: Prioritizing Patients Needs

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Social media matters across industries, and the health sector are no exception. As people have become hyperactive on social media, the medical field has embraced it. The field now incorporates social media into several healthcare strategies.

Healthcare organizations and medical facilities are starting to seriously examine social media’s role in patient and physician relationships. They also study how that connects to various health informatics systems.

Of course, various benefits come with building effective care plans with patients and communicating with potential patients through social media platforms. However, various challenges arise with using social media in health care.

So, are you unsure of how to incorporate social media into healthcare? You are on the right page! This article will examine the benefits of social media in healthcare, the challenges, and how to incorporate social media into healthcare. Let’s dive into it!

Top 4 Benefits of Social Media in Healthcare

As established above, social media has become a must-have for businesses. You can reach your customers easily and know their challenges as well. Below are some of the benefits of incorporating social media into healthcare.

1. Raising Awareness

Social media is crucial for raising public awareness about emerging and annual health concerns. Furthermore, hospitals are easily notified of a tragic incident through various social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, etc.

This prepares healthcare providers to treat any injured individual before the tragedy becomes publicly reported.

Additionally, raising awareness about credible sources makes it easier for your audience to contradict inappropriate healthcare social media claims they see in posts from their social connections.

2. Public Health Surveillance

Social media might never replace traditional data sources for public health and disease supervision. However, it holds the potential to provide the corresponding information.

Additionally, with the media’s data of interests – a set of online communications, it is easier to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce disease risks. Additionally, social media data can measure reactions to public health messages and campaigns.

3. Peer Support

Generally, social media is to connect with people majorly. For instance, someone going through a difficult time of disease may get emotional support from friends and followers on social media.

Also, social support shows positive health outcomes, with some studies showing that patient compliance and general health are enhanced.

In addition, hashtag campaigns on Twitter and Facebook for fundraising, organ donations, and many more have helped people. Furthermore, the media helps open conversations about mental health issues, emotional distress, and many more.

4. Sharing Medical Information

A recent report shows that people are beginning to use the internet to diagnose themselves and seek help. Although the available information might not always be authentic, most provide awareness of health problems.

Furthermore, social media provides a prodigious opportunity for healthcare organizations to raise awareness about chronic health problems like diabetes, allergies, cardiovascular disorders, etc.

This said, let’s discuss some of the limitations of incorporating social media into healthcare.

Limitations of Incorporating Social Media into Health Care

Although there are numerous benefits of social media in the healthcare sector, there are also a few limitations to it. Some of which include:

1. HIPAA Policy

Medical organizations and facilities must comply with various regulations and policies to provide efficient patient care and ensure they can stay open.

One of the laws that healthcare organizations must comply with is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Signed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, the HIPAA policy is a standard across all healthcare facilities. HIPAA policy prohibits anyone from giving out a patient’s health information or medical records.

It is a requirement under HIPAA that the health information is protected. The HIPAA privacy rule limits and conditions the uses and disclosures of such information that may be made without an individual’s authorization.

Health providers can walk quite a fine line between using social media for their jobs and breaking the law. HIPAA has provided a set of approaches that medical professionals can consider as the criterion for using social media in health care.

2. Accuracy

This is yet another challenge of using social media in health care. Finding accurate public health information on social media can be a bit challenging for individuals interested in learning about critical medical conditions, infectious diseases and treatments.

Most times, inaccurate information causes individuals to think they are suffering from a critical medical condition when they are not. Also, it may confuse the necessary precautions to protect against the spread of infectious diseases.

3. Professionalism

Another concern healthcare providers may have about using social media is the need to maintain professionalism with patients and colleagues. Being too personal or casual on social media may affect their credibility.

In addition, medical professionals and doctors want to counter misinformation in public health situations. They don’t want to risk providing misinformation or contributing to medical controversies themselves.

4. Allotted Time

Time constraint is another challenge healthcare professionals deal with when using social media in healthcare. Doctors and primary care providers are typically booked with tight appointments daily.

Due to this, it can be challenging for doctors to regularly post on their social media platforms or engage their audience.

Most people actively use social media daily. As such, those interested in health problems may be looking to follow doctors or medical professionals who post daily or weekly.

However, doctors who have a hard time being active on social media can hire a social media professional to run the account.

How to Incorporate Social Media into Healthcare to Prioritize Patients

With the role of social media and healthcare in mind, how and where do you even start in terms of content?

Great question! Let’s examine a few ways to incorporate social media into healthcare below.

1. Harness the Power of Health-related Hashtags

Hashtags are a staple of social media at large. Also, healthcare companies have plenty of opportunities to use them, too.

Promoting a tag does the double duty of extending your content’s reach while also making it easier for your audience to share that content.

2. Take Patients Behind-the-Scenes

Highlighting your human side helps your social presence feel more relatable and personal.

With social media, you can put behind the scene contents to help people relate more with the business. For instance, as a healthcare specialist, you can create content that serves as both wholesome content and a positive spin on working in healthcare during tough times.

3. Publish Patient Shout-outs to Spread Positivity

Sometimes the best way to highlight your practice is by letting others do the talking. You can get shout-outs and testimonies from patients and post them on your page.

With user-generated content, you can provide an unfiltered view of how you’re helping patients and supporters.

Conclusion

As stated in the introductory part of this article, social media and healthcare go hand in hand these days.

In fact, with the latest boom in the healthcare industry and the need for updated news, it’s no surprise that healthcare accounts represent some of the most followed and engaged-with today.

Incorporating social media into your health practice might just make all the difference. Give it a try and see how it works out for you.