21 Reasons for Health Care Organizations to Adopt Social Media

When I meet with clients who are unsure (or whose bosses are unsure) about diving into the social media tangle, they usually ask for proof or reassurances that this stuff works.

So here is what I have them do first.

Baby steps.

With an accompanying list of reasons to show the higher ups.


Everyone (well, Chris Brogan) says that the first thing to do is to start listening.
This can be as easy as setting up Google Alerts and subscribing to some search feeds.
Reasons why this is important:

  1. Conversations are already happening about your organization (online reviews, other peoples’ blog posts, forum comments)
  2. Find out if what you think your brand is matches what your patients/community says your brand is
  3. Free market research
  4. Allows you to correct any false information about your organization and its reputation
  5. Allows intervention before a minor crisis becomes a PR disaster


  1. A blog positions your organization as a Thought Leader; forward thinking; cutting edge
  2. 60-80% (depending on the source) of patients consult the internet about their diagnosis
  3. Opportunity to get correct information out there
  4. Opportunity to influence the conversation about health care and your specialty
  5. A blog allows you to publish articles, video, podcasts (audio), photos, slide presentations
  6. Blog posts are better than news stories, because you are writing the story
  7. A blog improves search engine optimization (placing you at the top of Google search results)
  8. If you choose to respond to negative comments, there is an opportunity to show responsiveness/that you care about patient concerns

Social Media Guidelines

  1. A training opportunity – teach your employees what you expect; outline behaviors that are acceptable/not acceptable
  2. Opportunity to highlight HIPAA rules – patient privacy always in place, whether online, on the phone or in person
  3. Guidelines offer liability protection
  4. Whether your organization participates in social media or not,
    your employees may participate outside of work, so it’s still important to develop guidelines

Social Media

  1. 500,000,000 people on Facebook;
    A Facebook Page is similar to free yellow pages listing or a free phone line
  2. Make new connections among referring doctors, referring patients
  3. All 14 hospitals listed on the 2010-2011 U.S. News Honor Roll are using social media.
  4. 78% of U.S News Best Hospital List are engaged on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites

3 Comments to 21 Reasons for Health Care Organizations to Adopt Social Media

  1. at | Permalink

    Wow, what a great list for just about any business, large or small. If I were in health care, the point that would jump out at me is the high percentage of patients who use the internet to check out their diagnoses — that’s huge.

  2. at | Permalink

    I like this a lot, thank you. Short and to the point. Very useful for those of us newer to SM, and trying to encourage others in our organisations

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MEET Jacquelyn

  • I like pies, but I don't make them. I help organizations bake up social web strategy.

    (and it's quite delicious)

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