Friday, June 12, 2009

Hey, are they talking about you? You should hope so!

Everyone is jumping on the social media bandwagon and medicine is no longer a straggler. Social media is effecting medicine in more ways than we can imagine. In the past, medicine relied largely on word of mouth and some physicians advertised. You see these ads all the time in the neighborhood magazines. But now, things are changing. You are not reaching only your selected target group, your scope is much broader than you imagined. All this, thanks to social media networks.

Molly Merrill of HealthcareIT News found that:

According to a recent survey, social media influenced nearly 40 percent of hospital or urgent care center patients. The Spring 2009 Ad-ology Media Influence on Consumer Choice survey found that 53 percent of patients between the ages of 25 and 34 years old were the most influenced by social media. Urgent care and maternity services provide excellent opportunities to connect with younger consumers, and social media is the way to engage this group.
These social networks are not just about finding physicians or hospitals. There is an online site where patients link themselves into social groups by their diagnosis. Here, you are able to communicate with others who have the same diagnosis. Patientslikeme.com allows you the option of taking charge of your healthcare by seeking opinions from members regarding their treatment, medications, surgeries etc.

Physicians are also jumping into social medial marketing. According to an article by Michael Blankenship with PepperDigital:
Surgeons staff are microblogging on Twitter while performing surgery, practicing what can only be described as social media medicine. Why social media in the operating room? The physician remarked that it's to make people aware that there is a procedure to remove a tumor without taking the kidney.
Families are being updated during a surgical procedure via Twitter, not only with those in the waiting area, but family members across the country.

In the past, medicine has been slower than most to jump into technology - EHR is a perfect example. Their scheduling is probably computerized as well as their billing, but charting has been slow to transition. Communication, however, seems to be a different story.

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