By: Hannah Brown
Social media has been one of the biggest influencers on healthcare marketing in decades. With a current, very engaged generation more likely to go online to discuss general health questions than ask their doctors, how can social media play a role in the doctor-patient relationship? Below are some meaningful statistics to illustrate how, and why, healthcare professionals should get more involved with their patients online:
- More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health.
- The opinions of others online are frequently trusted, but are also commonly inaccurate, especially when it comes to personal health. A healthcare professional has the responsibility to create and correct healthcare content on social media to accurately inform their patients, and hopefully supersede the misleading information.
- 60% of doctors say using social media improves the quality of care delivered to patients.
- The transparency and authenticity that social media can help spur for doctors and patients alike helps to improve the quality of care given to patients.
- 47% of social media users are willing to speak to doctors online.
- Many people want to talk about their personal medical problems socially or with their medical professional, but they don’t actually want to spend the money to visit the doctor unless the problem is serious. Connecting with patients online, can help a physician determine the best course of care for their patients.
- 60% of physicians most popular activities on social are following what colleagues are sharing and discussing, and 54% of patients are very comfortable with their providers seeking advice from online communities to better treat their conditions.
- Participating in the online conversation can be disconcerting for some physicians, but observing content and conversations of other colleagues can have the same benefit. Regardless of whether the physicians is a participant or observer, patients want to know their doctors seek additional information through social media to better treat their conditions.
- 49% of those polled expect to hear from their doctor when requesting an appointment or follow-up discussion via social media within a few hours.
- While this is such a surprising statistic, it is a sign about how a doctor should handle follow-up conversations and booking appointments to provide the best care possible for each of their specific patients.
Social media is an extension of the doctor-patient relationship. When active on social media, physicians are given the opportunity to reach and have a direct impact on the daily choices their patients make.