Kathie Melocco - Health Activism

Blog dedicated to Social Justice and Health and Wellbeing Activism

May 28, 2012

Social Media 'likes' healthcare: The case for social business

Social media is changing the nature and speed of health care interaction between consumers and health organizations. Recently PwC Health Institute released a report entitled ‘Social media “likes” healthcare – From marketing to social business. The report examined how healthcare in the US and Social Media interacted and here is what some of the largest health care companies are doing in and with social media.

Here's an extract:

"Social media is changing the n
ature of healthcare interaction, and health organizations that ignore this virtual environment may be missing opportunities to engage consumers, according to a new report by the Health Research Institute (HRI) at PwC US entitled, “Social media likes healthcare: From marketing to social business.” The report found that social media activity by hospitals, health insurers and pharmaceutical companies is miniscule compared to the activity on community sites. While eight in 10 healthcare companies (as tracked by HRI during a sample one-week period) had a presence on various social media sites, community sites had 24 times more social media activity than corporate sites. The finding holds significant implications for businesses looking to capitalize on social media opportunities.

“The power of social media for health organizations is in listening and engaging with consumers on their terms. Social media has created a new customer service access point where consumers expect an immediate response,” said Kelly Barnes, US Health Industries leader, PwC. “Health organizations have an opportunity to use social media as a way to better listen, participate in discussions and engage with consumers in ways that extend their interaction beyond a clinical encounter. Savvy adopters are viewing social media as a business strategy, not just a marketing tool.”

PwC’s report includes findings from a recent HRI social media survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers and 124 members of the eHealth Initiative (eHI), a national association of industry organizations focusing on health information and technology. HRI also interviewed more than 30 industry executives and tracked the social media activity of a number of hospitals, insurers, drug manufacturers, and online patient communities to create a Week-in-the-life of Social Health snapshot.

The consumer survey found:
  • One-third of consumers now use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online forums for health-related matters, including seeking medical information, tracking and sharing symptoms, and broadcasting how they feel about doctors, drugs, treatments, medical devices and health plans.

  • Four in 10 consumers say they have used social media to find health-related consumer reviews (e.g. of treatments or physicians); one in three have sought information related to other patients’ experiences with their disease; one in four have "posted" about their health experience; and one in five have joined a
  •  health forum or community.

  • When asked how information found through social media would affect their health decisions, 45 percent of consumers said it would affect their decision to get a second opinion; 41 percent said it would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital or medical facility; 34 percent said it would affect their decision about taking a certain medication; and 32 percent said it would affect their choice of a health insurance plan.

  • While 72 percent of consumers said they would appreciate assistance in scheduling doctor appointments through social media channels, nearly half said they would expect a response within a few hours.

  • As is the case more broadly, young adults are leading the 
  • social media healthcare charge. More than 80 percent of individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 said they were likely to share health information through social media channels and nearly 90 percent said they would trust information they found there. By comparison, less than half (45 percent) of individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 said they were likely to share health information via social media.
Eighty-two percent said their organization’s social media efforts are managed by marketing/communications. Few organizations said their IT departments and digital teams owned social media strategies.

Evolution from Social Media to Social Business Strategy
While some health businesses have started listening and participating in the social media space, they have not fully connected it to business strategy. The HRI report found that organizations that are strategic about their use of social sites are beginning to differentiate between social media and social business. Social media is the external-facing component that gives and receives customer input. Social business is where core internal operations, such as customer service, data analytics and product development could use social data. Additionally, patient-reported data on social networks could offer new insights on behavior and lifestyle to help inform care plans and improve the quality of life for patients with chronic conditions. 

One-half said they are concerned about how to integrate social media data into business strategy and processes.
HRI’s survey of eHealth initiative members found:
  • Eighty-two percent said their organization’s social media efforts are managed by marketing/communications. Few organizations said their IT departments and digital teams owned social media strategies.
  • One-half said they are concerned about how to integrate social media data into business strategy and processes.

PwC says that hospitals, insurers and pharmaceutical manufacturers can benefit from the interactive nature of social media. Insights from social media offer instant feedback on products or services along with new ideas for innovation that could lead to higher-quality care, more loyal customers, efficiency and even revenue growth."

The above post is an extract from PwC press release - New York, April 17, 2012 

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May 11, 2012

Tools to build your social healthcare practice

Are you a doctor, dentist, physiotherapist, allied health professional, practice manager, health care peak industry association? Trying to ascertain how social media can be used effectively for your practice? In the area of health care the challenges to both effectively target and respond to online discussion is one that requires special consideration.

There’s a lot of buzz today about social media marketing in health care practices. When I speak at medical and health care related industry conferences I am usually asked by health care practitioners and their team members, “Can social media be effective in building our practice?" And, “Is it necessary for us to be engaging in this 24/7 space, it's so time consuming?”

Social media is word-of-mouth marketing online. It can be used effectively for patient education, to increase patient loyalty and is a powerful tool for acquiring new patients through word of mouth referral.

However to implement an effective social media prorgamme it begins with strategy -“why”  What are your goals, what are your trying to acheive and how will you measure your success. Executed well social media is a powerful tool for what I call 'out-practice service'.

In it's simplest form, social media in health care communication is all about the story you have to tell, be it for health promotion,  provision of valuable patient resources, fact sheets, and more.

1stAvailable have recently developed a number of tools exclusive to 1stAvailable subscribers to help you market the 1stAvailable service to your patients. They are available from our 1stAvailable Facebook page as free downloads. I hope you find them useful. As a 1stAvailable subscriber you should also check out our edition of 1stToday episode, we meet Executive Chairman Klaus Bartosch from 1stAvailable.

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May 01, 2012

Facebook now supports "Organ Donor' Status in Timeline

Facebook has announced a new status to the Timeline that allows users to indicate their organ donor status enabling millions to let others know that they are organ donors.With Facebook’s users now at 900 million, this has the potential to dramatically increase awareness of the need for organ donors, and also to help start conversations within families and to build awareness online. The option is present under Health and Wellness section. The new status allows you to specify the place where you have registered as an organ donor. This is not all, you can also specify the background of why you chose to donate organ to the public.
video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Mark Zukerberg says:
Facebook’s mission is simple: to make the world more open and connected. But the Facebook community has also shown us that simply through sharing and connecting, the world gets smaller and better. Even one individual can have an outsized impact on the challenges facing another, and on the world. At Facebook, we call that the power of friends.

Congratulations to Facebook for adding this important health-related feature!

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