The use of social media for hospital management - pros and cons

The explosion in the growth of the social media has made it a very viable and expansive medium that spans entire industries. To be sure, few people would have anticipated the colossal growth of the social media over the past decade or so. Among the various fields and industries into which the social media have made forays, healthcare is a prominent one.

A look at some mind boggling numbers

That there is a strong link between the social media and hospital management is perhaps best illustrated by this fact: In less than a decade, the number of users of social media in the healthcare sector has grown at a shocking rate of over 3000 times, from just under two dozen healthcare professionals using these media in 2006, to over 75,000 healthcare providers now! Even this piece of statistics has to be seen in perspective, because the difference is between the number of healthcare professionals and the number of healthcare providers. This further magnifies the scenario.

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How do the social media work for hospital management?

Forming groups

The social media work for healthcare in a number of ways. Social media for hospital management usually begins with using social media platforms for communicating with patients. A common platform for the use of the social media for hospital management is to form online groups of patients and other interested parties. Using platforms such as Twitter is a common medium for listing out and tracking a certain type of illness.

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Creating awareness

Another of the uses of social media for hospital management is to use these media for running health campaigns. Many groups in hospitals tie up with interested parties in other fields to run awareness campaigns for say, autism. Putting up a campaign on the social media spreads information about the campaign like wildfire, and helps mobilize groups to organize campaigns.

Discussion forums

These constitute another of the many uses of social media for hospital management. Healthcare professionals can form groups to discuss symptoms and conditions of their patients. This way, they can share information and get more insights and wisdom into their cases.

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Now, the problems of using social media for hospital management

The use of social media for hospital management has huge potential. Yet, it is not free of drawbacks. First and foremost, hospital managements have to ensure that the most important element of patient information - protected health information - is kept secret. In the process of carrying out any of the uses of social media for hospital management; healthcare professionals can leak any small information, which can result in a data breach, something for this HIPAA and other legislations can come down heavily on the healthcare provider.