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Social media has made a significant impact on the healthcare industry. It has changed the way patients find doctors and changed the way doctors communicate with both prospective and existing patients. It has given the healthcare industry a platform for sharing accurate information to the masses. While the prospect of transitioning to social media was, and still is scary for some, the majority of healthcare businesses have realized the importance of having a social presence online. Here are some important facts to back up why social media is key to a successful healthcare practice.

  • The use of social media by adults for health research has grown from 8% in 2005 to 72%. (Pew Internet Project’s January 2014 survey)
  • 87% of adults in the U.S. use the Internet and 55% of Americans age 45-54 have a social networking profile.
  • 90% of adults own a cell phone and 58% own a smartphone. Of this, 52% of smart phone owners have used their phone to look up health or medical information.
  • 77% of people looking for health information begin their search online. They are most commonly searching for information on specific diseases, treatments, procedures and healthcare providers.
  • 92% of social media users with medical conditions report their willingness to share anonymous health information to assist researchers.
  • 71% of U.S. adults who use the Internet report using Facebook.
  • 60% of doctors report that social media improves the quality of care they deliver to patients.
  • 87% of doctors’ report using social media for personal reasons and 67% of these doctors use it for professional purposes.
  • 61% of people who use social media trust posts made by doctors. This number drops to 55% for hospital posts.
  • 31% of healthcare professionals are using social media to network professionally. 

Healthcare consumers are online and are actively searching for health information and medical providers. They have greater control over their health care experience and are using the Internet and social media to discuss the experiences they have with others. This can either negatively or positively shape the providers’ or facilities brand.

To positively impact their future, healthcare providers should develop strategic social media marketing plans that deepen engagement with patients and improve loyalty. In addition, they should monitor their online brand performance and keep an eye on the competition. By taking a proactive approach to trend watching and managing change, healthcare providers and facilities can prevent any unforeseen surprises.