Top 6 Ways Social Media is Used by Healthcare Professionals
When combined, social media and healthcare can do amazing things as online communities now play a vital role as medical and general knowledge sources. However, they have the potential to spread false information as well. Understanding how to face the difficulties of social media in healthcare might be complex. This information must be correct, relevant, timely, and adhere to all applicable legislation. So to help you take advantage of different digital platforms, we've consulted with experts in patient experience and found the top six ways social media is used by healthcare professionals.
The best ways for healthcare professionals to use social media
Healthcare professionals who use social media to interact with the public can serve a dual purpose: educating the public and preventing the spread of misinformation. As a medical professional, you'll automatically have a significant level of authority online, so people will expect to hear truthful information from you. That's why it's essential to find the best ways to utilize social media.
#1 Sharing valuable information
Social media aims to facilitate rapid information sharing and interpersonal communication. Healthcare institutions use these resources and websites to disseminate information to patients and clients in several ways, such as providing basic facts about flu shots and cold prevention.
Remember that all information about a specific patient must be accompanied by a signed release and obtained with the patient's permission.
#2 Raising awareness
Social media can draw the public's attention to new, emerging, and recurring health issues. Immunization, the flu virus, treatment, ebola, you name it; health care systems should provide reliable information on these topics. Reminding your audience of fundamental health care principles is a simple way to increase understanding. Also, it's an excellent way to address common issues with healthy living.
However, in times of rapid change, social media has become essential for keeping the public updated on the most recent issues, recommendations, and advisories. Educating your audience on where to find reliable information will make it simpler for them to debunk harmful healthcare claims they see on social media.
#3 Combating misinformation
The sheer nature of social media facilitates the rapid dissemination of knowledge to broad audiences. That's fantastic when the details are accurate, instructive, and easy to understand. Unfortunately, a great deal of misleading information about health circulates online.
False statements are one sort of misinformation that can be simply disproved. You can refer to relevant studies that have already been published or the most recent data from reputable health organizations like the CDC or WHO. However, the originators and spreaders of false information will occasionally invoke the name of a trusted organization to make their claims seem more credible. In this scenario, the referenced institution must clarify that they are not the original research contributor.
False information can also be found as "facts, " either provided out of context or in the wrong context. Again, the ideal method is to back up your claims with references to reputable studies and articles. But a gentler approach could be necessary here. There is a substantial bias for believing information that confirms one's preexisting beliefs.
#4 Comparing and improving quality
Healthcare administrators can also benefit from social media by researching the services offered by their rivals and the level of pleasure their patients have with those services. Professionals can improve their tactics by looking at how other businesses use social media and then adopting those strategies themselves. Some companies will flourish thanks to social media; providers will learn if they need to take additional steps to respond to patient demands and enhance customer service promptly.
Healthcare professionals can use social media to analyze their competition and find solutions to improve their services.
By engaging with patients on social media, medical professionals can quickly gauge public opinion on emerging medical practices and learn more about the most common side effects of new medications. Healthcare providers can use social media data to analyze patients' satisfaction with their services and improve their responses.
Having said that, you also need to monitor third-party sites and review forums including Google reviews, Reddit, Yelp, and many others. Why? Because these review sites and forums are a goldmine for analyzing what patients are saying about you or your practice online. This way, you can gauge their satisfaction level, analyze their sentiments and grow your practice to be more patient-friendly.
On the other hand, solutions such as online reputation management are even easier and more efficient options. With the help of an automated tool, you can easily gauge and analyze patient sentiments from social media and third party channels. Even a single negative review is enough to drive away prospects from your practice. So, by constantly monitoring the reviews shared by patients online, you can leverage the positive feedback to promote your healthcare brand and work on the negative ones to deliver a more wholesome patient experience.
#5 Engaging with the general public
Health care providers might find novel answers to frequently asked topics using social media platforms. WHO, for instance, created a chatbot for Facebook Messenger. It can provide knowledge, point people in the correct direction, and dispel myths.
Even among medical professionals, discussing complex healthcare topics can be challenging. This is especially true in the case of stigmatized issues such as mental health, where sufferers may be reluctant to seek help. This is another great way to use social media and allow the general public to reach out to you and discuss sensitive health-related topics.
#6 Communicating during times of crisis
The usage of social media to keep people up-to-date in real-time during a crisis has expanded. Hospitals and other groups can provide real-time updates on hospital capacity, operation status, and emergency room access via social media. By maintaining an online presence, medical practitioners can disseminate and discuss news stories and information from the American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other similar organizations.
The recent Covid-19 pandemic showed us the importance of having accurate and easily accessible information during a crisis.
Social media is a big part of the future for all healthcare professionals
Due to its widespread nature, healthcare professionals are increasingly using social media. While there are risks associated with using social media in healthcare, many positive outcomes may be achieved for patients of all ages, healthcare providers, public health officials, and the healthcare industry as a whole. We hope the ways social media is used by healthcare professionals we've presented in this article inspired you to start using these platforms in the best ways. To make the most of them, reach out to pros who'll help you build a stellar reputation.