As the internet becomes more and more accessible, and health care consumers become more and more comfortable navigation online websites, hospitals and health care organizations are feeling the pressure to utilize social media to connect with their patients and families. Some hospitals and health care organizations, seeing the benefits of utilizing this type of technology, are incorporating social media planning as part of their marketing strategy (Ching-Hung, Shun-Hui, Yu-Hul, & Trappev, 2014). In order for this to be successful, there will need to be input from the health information management (HIM) department as well as the executive leadership team (ELT) in order to ensure that the information being shared is appropriate, aligned with the goals and mission of the organization, as well as secure (i.e. It does not compromise any confidentiality policies).
There are advantages to utilizing social media in healthcare marketing. Social media is a quick and easy way for health organizations to communicate with the community regarding new clinics, and/or techniques that can set them apart from the rest of the organizations in the area (Rollins, Anitsal, & Anitsal, 2014). Also, social media can afford health care organizations the opportunity to engage consumers with videos and testimonials of positive patient experiences and high patient satisfaction results.
There are also disadvantages to using social media in health care. Patients can reply to twitter feeds and other social media feeds with negative comments. Also, other companies can piggy-back off of social media sites connected with an organization in order to further their own agenda, such as a pharmaceutical company trying to sell a drug or someone selling a therapy that may not be proven to work (Goyal, Bansal, Farood, Pottahil, & Bedi, 2015).
Ching-Hung, L., Shun-Hui, Y., Yu-Hul, W., & Trappev, A. C. (2014). Applying geo-social networking and the theory of inventive problem-solving in service innovation and evaluation.
Journal of Industrial & Production Engineering, 31(2), 95-107.
Goyal, M., Bansal, M., Farood, M., Pottahil, S., & Bedi, S. (2015). Direct to consumer advertising: A Mixed blessing. National Journal of Integrated Research in Medicine, 6(3), 113-117.
Rollins, B., Anitsal, I., & Anitsal, M. M. (2014). Viral marketing; Techniques and implementation. Entrepreneurial Executive, 19, 1-12.
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