A recent business-centered blog discusses the growth of social media use among healthcare professionals and patients throughout the US. The article is based on a survey of 1, 229 hospitals, conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center, which showed that 82% of the hospitals reported having Facebook pages while 62% have Twitter accounts. This popular adoption of social media tools by hospitals should come as no surprise since their use by organizations in every market sector seems to growing exponentially.
The man who conducted the survey, UMMC’s Director of Web and Communications Strategies, also publishes best practices strategies for healthcare organizations that want to use social media as part of their outreach efforts. He uses his research to confirm and convey how the healthcare industry is using social media and why.
He states that there are six primary ways healthcare organizations are using social media:
- Customer Service – Hospitals and clinics are using social media as contact points for their patients allowing them to catch problems early
- Community Outreach – Audiences who live physically close to a healthcare facility will visit that organization’s social media sites
- Patient Education – Healthcare organizations are using social media to reach patients and educate them on important health procedures and issues
- Public Relations – The media is using social media to get news on all sorts of topics including healthcare
- Crisis Communications – In times of crisis, social media allows healthcare organizations to control the message and update their communities in real-time
What about Risks?
One important topic not covered by many experts, who are striving to come up with ways for organizations to get the best possible results from social media, are the risks involved. Much of the information regarding risk mitigation has centered on establishing acceptable use and other policies governing their employee interactions with social media. That may be because there are not that many companies offering attractive solutions.
EgeWave’s new iPrism Social Media Security offers a sophisticated approach that is unlike competitors’ technologies, because you get real-time control that is integrated within the social media application itself. Only EdgeWave’s social media security is integrated to scan and block content from within the application in real-time so the block message appears inside Facebook or Twitter for example, and the offender knows immediately, as does the administrator, that his or her posting is not allowed.
This works well to not only keep social media interactions within an organization’s policy and regulatory requirements, it helps educate users on what is and is not okay to post. The solution enables administrators to customize rules to fit specific requirements such as banning postings with your brand name to all but your marketing department. Such granular policy enforcement is a hallmark of this unique technology.
For more information in iPrism Social Media Security, click here.