If you were to ask your patients where they turn to for medical advice, you would expect the answer to be a doctor or their primary physician. However, 80% of the population uses Google, so the answer is the internet and social media.
The internet has changed how people consume information, and this change has affected the healthcare industry as well. Earlier, doctors used to be the sole distributors of medical knowledge. Now, the options are limitless. Nearly, 90% of the younger demographic relies on the internet for their healthcare decision making. This includes searching for doctors, reading online reviews, and deciding treatment plans. Healthcare professionals should stay relevant to their patient base and that means meeting them where they are – social media.
TABIIB takes a look at how social media is being used in healthcare currently and how it can enrich the healthcare experience.
Benefits Of Social Media in Healthcare
Healthcare providers are in a unique position when it comes to their role in social media – they’re not marketing a product or service, they’re providing a necessity. On platforms like Facebook and Twitter, concise information works best. Doctors and clinics can use this to communicate with their patients on a more neutral platform.
Sharing health information
Social media fosters differences in opinions – this is a good thing. However, it also paves the way for misinformation to spread. Any person active on social media has no doubt seen a lot of claims and theories that are medically inaccurate. By building an online presence, doctors can turn the conversation towards one that is backed by scientific evidence.
An example of misinformation spreading fast would be the backlash against vaccines. Articles which were shared on Facebook claimed that vaccines cause autism and other neurological disorders. This led many people to deeply mistrust the science behind vaccination. Misinformation spreads fast but accurate information does too.
There’s a variety of content that doctors can share. Some post short videos on general health trivia while some post infographics debunking popular myths. Every piece of accurate research can combat misinformation.
Promote healthcare services & treatment
83% of internet users use social media to look up health information. This ranges from diagnostic questions about mental health, general health, treatments, and disease management. Almost half of them trust the information when it’s distributed by verified health professionals. That’s a very wide patient base. Healthcare providers can use this platform to disseminate knowledge about medical services and other details.
It also works as an effective marketing tool.
Offer a support system
Being ill or dealing with a chronic disorder can be a very isolating experience. Being online has helped lessen the severity of that. Online forums and threads see many people flock to them to ask and receive information relating to their health questions. Healthcare providers have a great opportunity to foster a sense of community for their patients by encouraging responsible social media use for the sake of their health.
Navigate healthcare crises
Having reliable sources of information is more important than ever – especially in the wake of the pandemic. Social media platforms offer news in the moment – when it breaks, as it breaks. This makes it ground zero for all healthcare updates.
Doctors provide a critical resource by offering a reliable voice for healthcare updates.
Ultimately, social media is another tool that can help healthcare providers meet patients at a common, neutral point. Summarizing and simplifying complex health information and offering it to patients is a great way to build a proactive doctor-patient relationship. As a healthcare provider, if you’re struggling with putting your perspective out there you can always begin by creating an online presence. TABIIB allows you to list your practice for free and grow a profile. To know more about TABIIB’s platform, visit here.
You can go through more helpful articles on the blog archives.