There’s no denying that social media is here to stay, and it is becoming more and more important as a real source of communication for people.  But many hospitals still think that things like Twitter and facebook are not important and certainly not useful in the health care industry. 

 But more patients are expecting to be able to interact online with the businesses and services that they use, and hospitals are falling behind.  Only about 10% of hospitals are engaged in social media, and many of those use it very little.  It is no longer enough to just have a website with information – people expect to be able to interact with someone on that site.

A recent article on Healthcare Finance News urges hospitals to get involved more in the social media networks, saying that basically without it, they “don’t exist”.  How can hospitals use social media in a productive way?  The article outlines some ideas:

  • Damage control – if a situation occurs, there is no faster way to spread information than social media – get your version of the story out there and people will appreciate the quick response, will pass it on to their networks, and it will gain credibility
  • Build a reputation – share positive stories about patients enjoying your services that can be passed along and shared
  • Measure success – develop goals for your social media use and then use one of the many tools available to track site usage, outbound and inbound links, etc. to show how much traffic your site is getting and how many people are sharing your info with others