Social media has literally overtaken every other field, playing a role, major or minor, to bring people and professionals together for better communication. Same is the case with healthcare industry. It has brought healthcare communication to a level where patient and healthcare provider interactions have bridged the gaps that used to exist previously.
Many of the healthcare establishments are utilizing the social media to reach out to their patients and consumers. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc. are some of the major social media forums that are playing a role to bring the patients and doctors together for better communication. It has proved to be a blessing in a way, as it has paved way for tackling problems like changing the patients’ behavior in association with chronic illnesses, improving the efficiency of communication with prompt delivery of healthcare services to the patients and reducing the costs that go into patients’ visits to the doctor.
Social media interaction is just a part of the wider e-communication. Some medical organizations have expanded it into full fledge communication means. Take the example of Mayo Clinic. With its websites, Facebook pages and groups and Twitter accounts, patients can easily log onto the internet to discuss their problems with professionals. The sustained patient-provider interactions over the social media have, however, raised concerns about the fiscal deficit that this communication is going to cost. If the patients start relying on these interactions too much, the number of hospital visit and the steady flow of money that comes with it are going to decrease.
The benefits of the social media in tackling the prevalent health issues, however, cannot be overlooked. With prevention being the better policy as compared to cure, social media can be used to raise public awareness about prevalent chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disorders, obesity, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes etc. This strategy can prove to be really effective with 70% of the world population being on the internet and social media. It can help reduce the costs that go into electronic campaigns for public awareness about avoiding sedentary habits, smoking, drinking etc. These interactions can be, however, put to wrong use by individuals probing for sensitive information about others. The social media has put the privacy of the patients at stake.
Another aspect of social media interactions is the communiqué between healthcare organizations and the potential costumers. It can be utilized to convey their mission statements, policies and the services that they offer in a better and more effective manner. The need for making policies regarding social media interactions exists to put it to positive use.