Social Media: How to Build a Better Experience-Path to Your Door

social media pathwayIf the Internet is the “new front door” for hospitals and healthcare providers, then social media is the trusted pathway to engagement and the vitally important initial patient experience.

Curiously, the most frequent citation about online health information sounds impressive, but it doesn’t reveal the underlying power of contemporary digital. You’ll often hear: “72% of Internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year.” Admittedly that’s impressive, and your hospital digital doorway may be bigger than you think.

But here’s where the broad statistics get their leverage and traction. In healthcare, simple online research by the patient leads to influence, engagement and, in many cases, hospital and provider selection and appointments:

  • Over 40 percent of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health. [Mediabistro]
  • About 42 percent of consumers look up reviews for health providers.
  • More than 40 percent of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility. [DC Interactive]
  • And nearly 60 percent of consumers report that a hospital’s social media connections would strongly affect their decision to receive treatment at that facility. [American Hospital Association]

Building a better patient experience pathway…

When you dig through the academic studies—such as Use of Social Media Across US Hospitals: Descriptive Analysis of Adoption and Utilization—hospitals are aware of the importance of social media. In this study, better than 90 percent of hospitals have at least one social media platform. But, the authors conclude, utilization varies greatly.

One recently published source for implementation information is A Hospital Leadership Guide to Digital and Social Media Engagement, published by the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Marketing Development (SHSMD). This new booklet discusses the limitations and rewards of social media, and offers insight to the creation and startup of a meaningful program.

Additional resources from the free Healthcare Success library include:

Lonnie Hirsch

About Lonnie Hirsch

Co-Founder of Healthcare Success Strategies, Lonnie has consulted for over 2,000 health care clients during his 20-year career. Lonnie writes for many healthcare publications, and also has spoken at hundreds of venues nationally. His topics include patient experience, customer service, marketing, branding and business development.


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