Use of social media in healthcare is increasing rapidly. Social media is a powerful marketing channel for all the industries and especially for the healthcare industry. The use of social media in healthcare has proved to be an effective strategy for many companies. Social media can be used for a number of ways within the health field. The social media sites and websites have increased tremendously and have become a great way to communicate, network and grow the business. The new uses of social media are being developed everyday, especially for the healthcare industry. Social media has become a powerful marketing channel for all the industries and especially for the healthcare industry.

Medical Professionals Using Social Media

The medical professionals who embrace healthcare social media uses are likely to create deeper associations with their patients, which may result in greater patient loyalty and client retention and also increased referrals. They can also connect with the new patients when they share insight on the medical news, research developments and the new treatments within the public forum. The ways in which the professionals are using these tools are as follows.

Facebook: Some doctors prefer to keep their personal Facebook pages private and create a company or local business page. Whether you friend your patients or ask them to become fans, the social network Facebook makes it easy for them to tell others about your practice , which can lead to a new business. The promotions and contests are another way to build your following on this valuable social media site.

Twitter: The medical professionals can use Twitter to educate their current patient base and reach out to the new clients. They can also tweet about the new developments in the healthcare industry, exciting news around the office, success stories and also what the patients may find valuable or interesting.

Google+: Medical professionals can make use of Google+ for the virtual patient support groups and the educational offerings. The feature of hangout can enable up to ten individuals to interact through the live streaming video. This can also prove to be a convenient way for the doctors, nurses and the medical educators to interact with patients who do not need to be seen in the office.

LinkedIn: By joining the healthcare groups on this professional networking site, LinkedIn can enable medical practitioners to connect, share ideas and find information. The new service LinkedIn Today allows you to subscribe to news in your field and also customize your news feeds to the topics that are most relevant to you.

Pinterest: The newest of the social media sites that may have uses within the healthcare industry is Pinterest. It has recently reached 10 million subscribers. It is a very visual site. The users create boards upon which they pin images they have uploaded or found elsewhere on the web

Importance of Social Media in Healthcare

There are a few ways that social media can be used by insurers, hospitals and doctors. These include events, health reminders, and fund raising.

1. Events: The social networks like Facebook and Twitter are amazing ways to let your patients or the customers know of the forthcoming events. These events could include fund raisers to flu shot clinics to the schedule of the blood mobile. Another great way to keep in touch with patients include sending out a short tweet with the details and the link to your site or Facebook that has more in-depth information to keep in touch with patients and a way to remind them about the important events.

2. Fund raising: This can be an exciting way to make people aware of your fund raising efforts. If you are having a silent auction then you can tweet about the latest items up for bid. The fund raising dinners can be announced on your Facebook page or by Twitter.

3. Health reminders: This can be an amazing way to make your customers aware of the health issues. If you are having a clinic on how to keep your heart healthy or free blood pressure checks then it is a good way to remind your clients regarding health issues. Using tweets to remind the expectant mothers about the prenatal care can also save money and also prevent premature babies.

4. Managing your social media: After entering into the social media world, one has to realize that is a full time job. It is better to outsource your social media management to a third party company. These companies will take the information you send them and make sure your network is aware of what is happening on at your clinic or hospital.

5. Consultants: If you want to keep a watch of your social network in house, then one must consider appointing a consultant to train a staff member to take over the social networking duties. It is essential to incorporate social networking as a part of the healthcare organization strategy. With the right application, the social networks hold a significant potential value for the healthcare businesses as they can be used to reach stakeholders, aggregate information and leverage the collaboration within the health sector globally.

Social media and social networking is proving to be much more than just a fad. Its big business and industries across the globe are realizing the benefits of connecting with other professionals and experts online – as well as potential and existing clients – and the healthcare industry is no different.

It has taken a little longer for medical professional to adopt social media, probably owing to fears regarding patient confidentiality, however with secure networks, increasing online security measures and a better understanding of what social media has to offer, the medical industry is starting to utilize online tools in a big way. Professionals in the industry are beginning to see how social media can be used to further development and understanding of complex medical conditions; its not just about sharing patient information, but also unique symptoms, trends, concerns and ideas. Sharing information and subsequent group analysis is furthering medical development in leaps and bounds.

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