Many people are educating themselves about their own health to help them advocate for quality healthcare. When seeking health care information, most people eventually turn to social media, even older adults. A University of Florida study showed that 90% of baby boomers and older adults use popular social media venues such as Facebook and Twitter to find and share health information. Younger generations are even more likely to seek healthcare information on social media. This high participation rate offers an opportunity for marketing and education from healthcare providers.
Social media provides an opportunity for healthcare providers to reach out to their clientele. For many it can be challenging to navigate social media while remaining compliant and secure. To be effective, content must be engaging, informative, accurate, and timely while following all relevant industry rules and regulations.
Healthcare providers can use social media to raise public awareness regarding healthcare concerns, whether it is annual flu immunization reminders, information about emerging concerns like the recent coronavirus pandemic, or addressing basic health practices. Especially during times such as these when information is changing quickly, healthcare providers can keep the public informed about the latest guidelines and advisories through social media posts.
One concern with patients seeking healthcare information through social media is the abundance of misinformation available. Providers can combat this by using social media to direct their patients to credible sources of information. They can point followers to their website or to other public health social accounts for reliable up-to-date information.
Many providers are actively implementing YouTube to provide educational videos on procedures, treatments, therapies, etc. They direct their clients to these informational videos through materials provided during their appointments, or through their patient portals. This provides doctors with the perfect opportunity to link their patient with reliable information to educate them about their health conditions.
Social media groups are also a common place for people to connect with others who are facing similar health challenges. There are many benefits with being able to communicate with others for support and information. Many people learn about new treatment options and then discuss those options with their doctors. They also learn other tips, such as recipes for heart healthy diets, links to physical therapy videos for their surgery recovery, and other beneficial self-help techniques.
Healthcare providers should engage their patients to determine whether they use social media or seek health information online. They should actively encourage them to beware of the accuracy of information they may obtain, and to seek clarification from their doctors before implementing any self-help treatments. They can point their patients toward reliable, vetted information using their own website information or other credible sources.
Patient privacy is always a concern when placing any type of health information online. People should be wary of sharing too much medical information through social media and providers should be conscious of HIPPA regulations. One way to combat some privacy concerns is to use invitation only social media groups. Many providers are inviting their patients to these types of restricted groups that do not show up in searches, then the providers act as moderators and participate in group discussions that benefit their patients. This provides some true benefits to their patients through support and education.
Healthcare providers have a positive and effective tool at their fingertips when it comes to social media. Genesis Medical Management, your healthcare solutions experts, encourages their clients to use social media to actively engage with their patients.
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