HCA 360 Topic 7 DQ 1

HCA 360 Topic 7 DQ 1


This white paper reviews how some health care organizations have used social media to better understand the needs and preferences of patients and consumers, and how your organization can do the same.

By leveraging social media, health care organizations have a greater opportunity to understand the needs and preferences of patients and consumers. Doing so will help hospitals, health information exchanges (HIEs) and health care providers improve the quality of their services. In doing so, they will be able to meet patient demands, improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs.

Recent years have seen a rise in the use of social media platforms by all types of organizations, including health care systems and hospitals. In the United States, approximately 81 percent of all adults now actively use social media websites. Understanding consumer preferences and concerns online is a key question for health care organizations who are interested in developing products and services to effectively reach patients and consumers. By understanding customer concerns on social media domains, healthcare organizations can adjust their marketing strategies to effectively address these issues and expand into new ways of connecting with its customers.

Social media is an effective way for health care organizations to increase their relevance by providing timely and relevant information, without relying on the traditional marketing channels. Instead of sending a message through mass media, the organization can have an authentic conversation with its members and create a personal feel for its brand. Twitter is an excellent example of a social networking tool that health care organizations use to engage with patients and consumers; however, most health care companies include Twitter in their social media initiatives without fully understanding how to utilize it effectively. In this emerging area, there are opportunities for improved performance and more effective engagement through social media. The purpose of this paper is to explore why health care organizations should make the integration of Twitter into their overall social media strategy a priority, examine the potential value it could provide, review the current business applications related to Twitter, determine how many different types of users can be served by this tool, provide some examples of how various organizations are using it today, and mention future possibilities for development.

Six in ten social media users say they have read a review about a doctor on a social network. In fact, more people (47%) read reviews about health care organizations than about movies (40%), hotels and air travel (both 39%), local businesses (39%), and restaurants (35%). Why don’t more health care organizations take advantage of this opportunity to make patients and consumers happy? After all, an online recommendation is the best kind that patients and consumers can give.

In a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report, researchers found that most (85%) people have a social networking profile; yet, “most health care organizations do not have policies in place to leverage the power of such sites.” However, with nearly 23% percent of Internet users using social media for health-related purposes, the opportunity for patient-centered health care is enormous. The key lies in utilizing this data by our actions and activities. A healthcare organization can uncover relevant information gleaned from these communities by understanding the insights and sentiments they are sharing online.

Research indicates that consumers and patients are increasingly turning to social media for health care information, and that health organizations are also using social media as a platform for communication with patients. This presentation will describe characteristics of popular health care-related Web 2.0 sites and examine what we have learned from online ethnographic research about the ways in which consumers and patients use social media in their search for health information.

This report is the most comprehensive I have found on the topic. It includes information on social media budgets, staffing, and activities, which are the most relevant issues that health care executives need to consider, but get little attention in other references.






How can health care organizations utilize social media to better understand the needs and preferences of patients and consumers?

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