Hospitals Not Doing SM: Get Out of Your Way

Fast forward 10 years—or even just 5—from now, and all cursors point to social media as a primary source of information gathering. And, that’s not just for the youngsters. Adult use (30s and up) of social media has quadrupled in the last 4 years.

 

Hospitals—big on statistics in so many ways—ignore those at their own peril. Another stat to watch? The coveted demographic for hospitals, women 35 and up, is among the fastest-growing on social networking site Facebook.

 

So, what are the nearly 6,000 registered hospitals in the U.S. waiting for? A handful have made the leap—their leadership gets it and they’ve allocated at least some resources to make it happen. For the others, the resistance usually comes in a package that includes:

 

  • Lack of understanding
  • Lack of resources
  • HIPAA concerns
  • Tied to traditional marketing tactics

It doesn’t take much to understand social media—you just need to set aside a little quiet time to get familiar with it. Resources? Sure, it’d be great to have a designated social media staff, and it’s likely one day you will. But, look at Mayo Clinic’s blog. They’ve leveraged patients, staff and other ambassadors to create their own ecosystem.

 

Concerns about HIPAA are legitimate ones, but to use an analogy that one colleague shared: How is social media different than a radio talk show that opens up its phone lines?

 

And, regarding traditional marketing and media tactics, no one is saying that they’re going away. But, social media should be part of the mix. You want to create and enlarge your communities; hospitals can do this through social media and be a player in their own conversations.

 

 

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2 comments so far

  1. Ed Bennett on

    Daphne – Welcome to blogging!

    You’re off to great start. I look forward to your ideas and comments on health care, hospitals, and the new opportunities with social media.

    Thanks for the mention in this post, I think you and I are the only folks in Baltimore with blogs on this topic.

    Good luck, Ed

  2. Kathy Winter on

    Great post! I’m not in Baltimore, but am interested in the topic!

    I’ve gotten my org to dip the toes into the social media waters…it’s a start!

    Thanks to Ed for tweeting it and sending me here.


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