As the world has digitized every aspect of life needs to evolve with the current trends in technology. The term “social media” (SM) refers to a range of web-based tools and programs whose users provide the content. The way individuals interact with one another and about their health has altered as a result of social media. Social media may help consumers and healthcare professionals (HCPs) communicate about health concerns since they are flexible and user-friendly platforms, which can also present new possibilities and difficulties for the healthcare industry.
Healthcare professionals may use digital health technology to practice patient-centered care, guarantee continuity of treatment, and shorten wait times by simplifying and expediting the availability of data and information for healthcare users supplying real-time decision assistance for better clinical judgment and patient safety offering technologically enhanced medication warnings and patient screening.
Users of healthcare services can benefit from digital health technology by being more knowledgeable and empowered to take charge of their own health and well-being. Digital health workers and providers play a crucial role in facilitating these benefits. For instance, by providing remote consultations, telehealth, and telemedicine services, digital health worker providers can lower geographical and time restrictions, allowing users to access healthcare services from the comfort of their homes. Additionally, users can monitor their own symptoms or vital signs using wearable technology and web applications, and easily upload this data for digital health workers and providers to review. This enables healthcare professionals to provide personalized care and make informed decisions regarding the users’ health. Furthermore, digital health workers and providers can offer guidance and support to users, assisting them in making healthy decisions about their nutrition, exercise level, and sleep, thereby promoting overall well-being.
BENEFITS OF HAVING A DIGITAL PRESENCE
Social media is utilized by patients
Globally, there are 4.48 billion social media users as of 2022, and it is quite improbable that this number will decrease.
In the past year, almost 80% of patients (and this number is probably higher) conducted at least one online search for healthcare-related information. Connecting your practice and its services to the internet is crucial. Businesses frequently discover that 63 percent of consumers choose a supplier based on their good web presence.
Accessing your patient’s social media stream is the goal. You may then advise others and direct them to social networks that best suit their needs. Despite worries about social media’s role in healthcare, most individuals value the concept of being in charge of their life and the advantages they enjoy. However, each institution needs to concentrate on the commercial side of providing healthcare.
Establishing Contact with Patients is Simple
The healthcare sector is concentrated on certain issues. To make sure they are offering the greatest services possible, research must be done. Patients, however, want to believe that they and their doctors are close friends. It is important to communicate, and it is simpler to put information online and allow other people to decide when and how to share it.
About 42% of consumers want to follow their healthcare provider on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook, according to a poll done for the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). Being able to educate others is crucial in this situation, and potential patients appreciate the concept of seeing these medical experts in their social media news stream. Patients believe that the internet is the best way to stay in touch with all of their pals in general. To engage everyone, doctors and other healthcare professionals may publish information, start discussions, and reference other healthcare institutions.
Healthcare social media marketing done in-house has no start-up expenditures. In fact, effective social media marketing may bring in more patients and increase sales for the business. In general, patients are concerned about their health and want to know that you share that concern.
A medical practice with a significant web presence may enlighten people and publish useful content. The patient then reads the material and may even pass it along to others. In addition to promoting their own health, they also raise awareness of new health problems, difficulties, and solutions. Everyone may talk about topics that interest them, which enables everyone to maintain control over their own health. Social media, in a way, dissolves the barriers that prevent everyone from participating. Therefore, potential patients can utilize social media to learn more about the company itself. They feel at ease and more secure in their medical decision as a result.
SOCIAL MEDIA’S NEGATIVE EFFECT ON HEALTHCARE
Users of social media frequently worry about the possibility of their personal data being taken. At the start of 2018, social media-related problems accounted for over 4.5 billion, or more than 56%, of the compromised data records.
Although more recent evidence suggests that health information is safeguarded, security and data breaches continue to happen often. Everyone needs to pay attention to patient privacy, but especially the healthcare practitioner.
Legal action may be taken against you if you intentionally disclose sensitive information like social security numbers. Social networking increases your chances of making mistakes.
Specific guidelines for secure online publishing are now provided by HIPAA. This includes the censoring or removal of a patient’s name, health insurance or social security number, birth date, or images. The patient also has the right to erase certain information concerning a rare condition, such as the dates of its diagnosis.
Therefore, in order to lower the likelihood of compliance infractions, the person must get enough training. They must be aware of what they may and cannot communicate.
The majority of consumers are concerned about incorrect material appearing in healthcare social media marketing strategies, and it does so often. In reality, it takes the truth six times as long to reach 1,500 people as a lie. Your patients’ health is at risk, and social media is notorious for spreading conflicting information.
In 2018, around three-fourths of the most popular health stories had inaccurate or misleading material. As a result, the majority of users on social media only read the title and skip over the content.
In other words, the likelihood of spreading misleading information over the truth is 70% higher. It’s ideal to add headlines that are simple to read and to the point in order to prevent this problem.
Lack of initiative on the part of the healthcare provider
The lack of control you have over social media in healthcare is another disadvantage. Negative comments will inevitably appear on the content you publish, and everyone’s social media page will display them. Overall, there will inevitably be irrelevant and even critical replies to your messaging.
The fact that once it’s out there, it’s there forever may be another issue you run into. Negative comments might be able to be deleted, but enough people have seen them alter their opinion of you.