Why Does Social Media Matter To Healthcare?

| Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015

New statistics show that 41% of consumers agreed that information on social media would affect their decision in choosing a particular doctor, hospital, or private practice. Almost a third of consumers say that they discuss health issues online using social media. Over 75% of patients say that they expect a response from healthcare providers within 24 hours of making a request through social media.  

When it comes to healthcare information, over 40% of consumers modify the way they deal with their health based on information they found on social media. This effect is amplified for millennials within the ages of 18-24, 90% of whom say that they would trust medical information shared by others in their social network.  

Although they seem to occupy two very different spheres of life, healthcare and social media are unarguably intertwined—but what does this mean for those who work with patients in the healthcare industry?  

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedeigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedeigitalphotos.net

Social media has completely transformed the landscape of how healthcare information is communicated to consumers. Although social media provides opportunities to spread awareness and educate the public on health issues, a large question is the matter of sources. The danger here is that there could be influencers on social media who aren’t always spreading accurate information, but who are trusted by social media users who may not know better.  

Now more than ever, those who work in healthcare have a responsibility to the community to provide content to be shared on social media. The information that these professionals share must be accurate, educational, and transparent so that consumers and users of social media can be well informed to make educated decisions about their health.  

Despite the danger of questionable health information being spread and absorbed by consumers, increasing numbers of healthcare organizations and professionals are indeed taking to social media to educate the public in a transformative way. 26% of hospitals in America have social media accounts, which helps them to better communicate with their patients. Reports even show that 60% of doctors say that social media has made improvements in the quality of care for patients because of the transparency and authenticity that informs social media content.


Doctors are absolutely among the most trusted when it comes to sharing health information; social media information from physicians and other medical professionals are 60% more likely to be trusted above any other source. In this way, social media can be seen as a powerful tool to help healthcare professionals and health organizations provide the public with accurate information and educational content regarding how consumers deal with their health.  

With social media, physicians and healthcare professionals have an opportunity to actively join and participate in discussions surrounding healthcare. Anyone who works in healthcare can leverage social media and become a key influencer in the industry if they consistently share information that is transparent to the public and accurate enough to inform healthcare decisions.  

Check out this infographicfrom alliedhealthworld.com for more information about how social media is influencing doctors and patients in this increasingly digital age of healthcare.

Don't forget to follow Medelita on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date on the latest healthcare news and information!