Posted in #HCSM

How can the Healthcare industry benefit from Social Media?

I’ve discussed in the Ad Spread the use of social media for the luxury retail industry as well as for museums. Today’s topic: the healthcare industry.

Companies in the B2C sector use social media for Big Data in order to get insights on their consumers to identify new needs and explore new market opportunities. This can also be done for the healthcare sector – which the industry is slowing acknowledging and implementing.

Many users use the Internet and Social Media to find out about symptoms they may have or side effects related to medication they are taking. In 2012, the Health Research Institute (HRI) conducted a study which found that one-third of consumers were using social media for health-related matters. It also indicated that these consumers were usually choosing to research information on “community” sites over industry specialized sites. RISK: they may have access to false information.

“Social media terms such as liking, following, tagging, can provide the clues that could lead to higher quality care, more loyal customers, efficiency, and even revenue growth” (HRI, 2012). Social media could therefore help Health Organizations and departments to identify this and communicate the right information as well as suggest possible prevention procedures through keyword search, hashtags and creating a page/profile on various social networks where users can ask, engage and be informed on current health matters. Another option is to ask Health Specialists participate in external forums to reduce the risk of misleading information and generate awareness about industry approved websites.

There are current talks between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Google about how the search engine could help the agency identify unknown side effects of medications (Bloomberg, 2015). This project could go a long way in terms of minimizing and tracking health risks, and reaching out to patients with possible side effects.

One thing health organizations must be weary of is providing too much information. Indeed, doctors should not be providing medical assistance to patients through social media and they would be liable for wrongful practice.


All in all, social media can benefit the healthcare industry in the following ways:

– Averting Crises: implementing a “social media watch” and creating alerts on particular search terms could help avoid a major crisis

– Prevention: communicating proper procedures and guidelines to avoid a virus / disease contamination as well as reliable websites that industry-approved

-Educate users: provide information on the latest medical news regarding diseases, new cures, and prevention methods


Tozzi, John, and Dina Bass. ‘Your Google Searches Could Help The FDA Find Drug Side Effects’. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 July 2015.

Social Media “Likes” Healthcare From Marketing To Social Business. PWC, 2012. Web. 26 July 2015. Health Research Institute.

See on Scoop.itHealth Care Social Media And Digital Health

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