For healthcare providers already navigating big changes, social media presents yet another challenge—and opportunity. While some health organizations are social pioneers, many are just beginning to address the need for a comprehensive social media policy and strategy.
Healthcare providers of all sizes need to act now to mitigate risks and put the power of social networks to work to increase revenue, cut costs, and enhance the quality of patient care. By building on the experience, expertise, and services of others, they can accelerate the process of becoming a social enterprise.
Why social media—why now?
Social networks have become an integral part of healthcare. Hospitals have Facebook pages. Physicians tweet with relevant medical updates. Patients consider the comments of strangers when making medical decisions.
Social media offers hope for better health outcomes by enabling fast, broad dissemination of medical information. Social networks provide non-official channels for disease reporting. They provide timely access to large amounts of data that can help track and even predict the course of illness through a population. They educate hard-to-reach populations. They enable patients around the world to find and connect others with the same disorder or disease to share both practical advice and emotional support.
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