By: Jon Schmid, Feature Story in Communique
Using social media to further communications between doctors and patients has its challenges – including time, privacy and patient reluctance – but that does not mean these important communication tools should be ignored.
Social media has been used in various forms of healthcare communication, but its place
as a tool to facilitate doctor-patient relationships is just beginning to be explored.
The pharmaceutical industry has recognized the value of new media tools as a way to
communicate with consumers and is moving forward with creative strategies in this
area. The importance of these platforms lies in the large and growing audience they
host, an audience that is already having conversations about healthcare with or without
your input. Finding the proper use for social media is key, as is finding the proper social
media platform for the specific use. There are areas where these new tools have been
proven by healthcare professionals to be very effective and manageable.
A Pew Internet Project survey has found that about 80 percent of internet users have looked up health information, such as specific diseases and treatments, online. Strangely enough, it seems that the demographic that is most smitten with social media is utterly unlikely to seek an online relation-ship with its doctors.
According to Capstrat, a communications agency based in Raleigh, N.C., Millennials do not prefer to use social media, or even text messaging, for personal health communications with their healthcare providers. The national poll found that even young Americans (18 to 29 years old) still prefer traditional forms of communication with their doctors. Within this age group, 84 percent of respondents said they would not communicate with their doctors via social media sites or text, even if it were an option. Undeterred by these stats, the healthcare industry has
made a big push to tap into the power of the internet as a way to improve communications with its customers – patients.
Read the full story on pages 24-25 by visiting Communique.