A look at where the future of digitized medicine is going on social media
Social media has become a really common avenue for people and brands to stay connected. In fact, almost all sectors and industries use social media to connect with the world, and the healthcare sector is no exception.
Around 60% of medical practitioners consider social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as a means of providing better service to their patients. However, there can be a few downsides to this. Still, the impact that social media has on global healthcare is something worth exploring.
In this article, we’ll talk about where the future of digitized medicine is likely heading to on social media.
Healthcare Marketers and Social Media
It’s no secret that social media is a really powerful tool. According to statistics, 48.2% of baby boomers, 77.5% of Gen Xers, and 90.4% of millennials use social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on a regular basis. By 2020, more and more doctors will start using social media for communicating with their patients.
“Most of the time, a lot of unfounded medical claims tend to circulate on social media. What’s even worse is that a lot of people believe those medical pieces of advice that celebrities and other non-medical professionals claim on their social media channels. However, medical practitioners can solve this issue by using social media for sharing factual and evidence-based information to the public and informing them of important health issues. Through this, they will be able to position themselves as a reliable authority and source of factual information which, in turn, can improve their relationship with their patients,” says Dr Fuller, a family physician at Doctorspring.
Aside from that, medical practitioners can also use social media for sharing information regarding medical treatment and new healthcare technologies. This will allow them to demonstrate to patients that their practice is based on the latest advancements in medical research, thereby drawing the attention of patients who are looking for the latest treatments.
Social media can also be a place of interaction with the community. Millions of people engage in Facebook Groups or Twitter hashtags to interact with others who have the same medical issue. To cater to this audience, healthcare providers should think about how they can support such a network and inform patients of their presence. Such groups can actually be quite valuable for lots of patients, particularly those who have chronic illnesses.
An Increase in the Occurrence of Live Updates during Procedures
Even though it might be somewhat controversial, there has been an increasing number of medical professionals, particularly surgeons, who provide live updates of their procedures straight from the operating room. Through social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, healthcare practitioners can deliver updated information regarding their procedures to other medical professionals or simply just curious viewers.
While there has been a mixed reaction about this – some saying it can distract the operation and others saying it offers education value – such move can allow healthcare facilities to draw attention from various outlets and even mainstream media.
Reaching a Younger Demographic
Instagram, no doubt the most popular photo-sharing app on the internet, already reached a billion users this year, with most of them under the age of 30. This only means that medical professionals will be able to reach a younger demographic by leveraging the power of Instagram or social media as a whole.
A lot of medical facilities and professionals have already been using Instagram, Facebook, and other social media sites to share “stories”, provide quick and factual health tips, and show appreciation for their medical staff.
Stories, in particular, feel more organic compared to feed-based content, and that’s what makes them more fun and engaging. With the way healthcare practices are using “stories” to create a personality for their medical staff and share useful information these days, it’s easy to see digitized medicine becoming more and more visible to the patients via social media, particularly to the younger demographic.
How Social Media Can Help Shape the Future of Digitized Medicine
Social media is fully capable of opening up almost endless opportunities for health systems. Through major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, medical organizations will be able to make connections, share factual information, and even establish themselves as credible thought leaders.
Apart from that, medical professionals will be able to receive feedback from their patients, share their discoveries, and create trust among their patients. By establishing an easier form of communication with their patients via social media, doctors and hospitals will be able to create a healthy and positive relationship. Moreover, targeted ads that are promoted via social media platforms will help them reach patients in a more personalized setting.
With the changing times and easy accessibility to a wide range of information via social media and the internet, patients will now be able to review various healthcare providers and find the one that can meet their needs.
On the other hand, by engaging on social media platforms where most patients tend to spend a lot of their time, the healthcare industry will be able to further improve communication, gain almost immediate feedback, and most importantly, enhance the quality of care they can provide.
Author Neil Jackson writes about the role of technology in healthcare with a focus on AI and social media. In his free time, he edits Wikipedia and argues with people on Twitter.