In this current day and age, social media and modern healthcare go hand-in-hand. Patients today expect a higher level of care and transparency than they did a few decades ago. They use online resources, such as social media, to keep themselves connected with the latest news and innovation in healthcare.
Dr. Dave Chaffey, content director and co-founder of Smart Insight, revealed that nearly 60% of the world’s population uses social media regularly. With such a powerful tool at the average person’s disposal, how does your healthcare strategy stay aligned? If you’re not utilizing social media to improve patient engagement, you risk losing your primary audience's trust. Patients who feel their providers can’t meet their needs will quickly look elsewhere for options.
Social media will bridge the gap between your business model, healthcare providers, and patients. In order to improve patient engagement in your hospital, we will break down the ways that social media can play a role.
Healthcare innovation is the best way to improve patient engagement. We at Clearstep believe innovation starts with efficient communication tools and the best customer service.
The Top Ways Social Media Will Improve Patient Engagement
Communication is critical in generating trust with your patients and keeping them engaged. If you’re not utilizing social media, you’re missing out on people’s primary means of communicating with the world around them.
You don’t have to rely on viral posts to get your patients’ attention. Below are some key pointers for a long-term social media strategy in patient engagement.
Better Education and Awareness for Patients
Healthcare education isn’t limited to the classroom or the doctor’s office. According to Zoya Surani from Harvard University and the first author of “Social Media Usage Among Health Care Providers,” 40% of healthcare consumers use social media to acquire health and medical information. This research shows that more social media users than ever before use their favorite platforms to research symptoms, medication, and conditions.
Your business has a prime opportunity to offer patients the awareness they need to make an informed decision about their health. For example, patients experiencing symptoms they can’t explain may turn to the search engine for answers. Your business can become a more trusted resource than a search engine with a social media account that answers their questions upfront. This strategy will instill confidence in your patients to take a proactive approach in getting help from your institution.
While social media isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy to healthcare, its casual atmosphere and accessibility empower patients to stay connected with your business.
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Increased Communication Options Between Physicians and Patients
Patients don’t always have the ability to visit a hospital or clinic in-person. They could be sick and trying to socially distance themselves for the safety of others. They could also live in a very rural area and are unable to arrive on time for their appointment.
Social media provides easy access between providers and patients wherever there’s internet. While you are focusing on patient engagement in this piece, it’s worth noting that social media can also help physicians. Healthcare providers today are strained and require more flexibility in following up with patients. Just like virtual care options, thinking outside the box helps everyone.
Instead of subjecting patients to long hold times and multiple transfers to get their questions answered, an active social media account can help make the process more efficient. Your physicians will be thankful for the extra availability to care for their patients, and your receptionist/practice manager will have more time to complete other important administrative tasks.
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Improve Patients’ Overall Satisfaction
When patients are dissatisfied, their first order of business is to find an alternative solution. The survival of your business depends on the trust and satisfaction of your patients.
Technology gives you the power to target pain points in ways you never thought possible. The most frustrating issues that patients face today include (but aren’t limited to):
- Long wait times
- Canceled appointments
- Subpar care
- Lack of preventative measures
- Accessibility issues
Social media can help reduce long wait times for patients seeking advice, and can also reduce the demand on call centers or care teams needing to handle basic questions. This helps free up time for doctors and nurses to focus on what they do best, taking care of their patients.
Another way to help your patients feel comfortable connecting with your business is through supplementary apps or blogs. Updating your blog on a rolling basis can help answer questions before they appear. You can also curate the blog content onto your social media channel to build trust and transparency.
Want another channel to connect with your patients? We explain why AI chat is becoming the go-to healthcare option to improve patient communication and engagement!
Should Your Organization Start Using Social Media?
Taking the plunge into using social media for healthcare engagement shouldn’t be taken lightly. Remember that these platforms are almost like being in the Wild West, it’s both lawless and volatile.
Just like any other communication channel, you need to maintain a strict quality standard at all times. Sharing erroneous facts and information can hurt your reputation and harm your patients. However, the proper usage of these channels can impress your patient by showing them how easy it is to stay connected with their providers.
So how do you know if social media is the right strategy for you? Consider using the platform for your organization if you face the following issues:
- A high volume of canceled appointments
- A decrease in preventative care and follow-up
- More customer complaints than usual
- Reduced business value
- A stagnant healthcare marketing strategy
We’ve already considered how patient care has significant overlaps with existing social media platforms. Stay ahead of the curve by utilizing today’s tools to keep your patients connected, enhance transparency, and increase satisfaction.