Social Media and Health Care in Rural Areas

Know your audience. When embarking on your social media journey, knowing your audience is one of the most important keys to being successful. Through Promote My Practice, we individualize social media based on specialty, but the message changes drastically according to location.

Health Care Communication News posted an article that examines how social media healthcare should be used differently in rural America. It is a fact that rural communities have different health care needs from more urban areas. According to a 2011 survey, residents of rural communities are more greatly affected by chronic diseases—with more individuals living in households with heart conditions or diabetes—than their urban counterparts.

There are a number of different strategies that could benefit the rural community. A few are listed below,

  • Applying new technology such as virtual tours of practices and hospitals
  • Consumer outreach models
  • Partnering with different venues within the community

Some examples of partnering with community based organizations are,

  • Through a partnership with the National 4-H Council, UnitedHealthcare Community & State is sponsoring a youth engagement program to support one of 4-H’s core values: healthy living.
  • UnitedHealthcare and Florida 4-H launched an Eat4-Health partnership to help fight childhood obesity.
  • While this partnership is conducted on a national scale, programs like this could be streamlined and targeted to the communities served by your hospital or clinic.

Being educated about your patients’ needs will allow you to develop engaging ideas more easily, while also researching what data is available about rural health care and its consumers. 

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