Survey: Hospital social media use basic, unidirectional

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A small survey of social media use by hospitals and health systems by Falls Church, Va.-based consultancy CSC finds that while adoption has increased, the way organizations use them remains fairly basic. Hospitals, for the most part, continue to use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn to market to patients, something report author Jared Rhoads says needs to change.

"We believe that, having built familiarity and comfort with basic social media use, it is now time for hospitals to use social media in a more advanced way to achieve their strategic goals," Rhoads writes. "They should look for opportunities to go beyond just listening to consumers to connecting consumers and providers, gaining insights to inform product development, and responding to patient needs more rapidly."

Roughly 60 percent of respondents say their facility uses social media to "promote wellness and health behaviors, with slightly less than 50 percent indicating that marketing services, workforce recruitment and reputation management are the primary catalyst for use. Close to 70 percent of respondents add that their primary objective in using social media is to build greater brand recognition (although about the same percentage note that engaging patients is a primary objective).

Researchers at the University of Virginia and West Virginia University currently are collaborating to create data-analysis tools aimed at identifying early signs of adverse drug reactions on social media sites. They are using a $130,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund their research.

What's more, research published recently in the Journal of Medical Internet Research finds that a growing number of physicians are using social media to share medical information and stay up to date. Close to 60 percent of physician respondents to that study say that social media helps them to care for their patients more effectively.

To learn more:
- read the full report (.pdf)

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