Attend FREE Webinar on Digital Marketing for Career & Business Growth Register Now

Is It Possible That Social Media Can Revolutionize Healthcare?

Is It Possible That Social Media Can Revolutionize Healthcare?

Can social media revolutionize healthcare? Is it possible for social media to revolutionize healthcare? – The question poses somewhat in this manner. The answer is, Yes, social media do possess certain characteristics that makes it possible for healthcare to revolutionize. Now, lets look into what exactly these possibilities are, how it has come into existence, how it has created an impact and how it’s doing its best and without it the world at present shall go on the verge of being not so very well functionable technologically.

download (2)As per the records, there is a veritable social revolution, including social networking sites, wikis, blogs, and other online forums, for healthcare, say Katherine Chretien, MD, of Washington DC VA Medical Center, and Terry Kind, MD, of The George Washington University School of Medicine. IT-enhanced care coordination is having an impact for a safer and more effective care. Some examples of healthcare applications for social media and collaboration platforms:

  • Second-generation patient portals and messaging systems to engage patients in their own care.
  • Tracking application for patients’ movements from hospital to home to doctor and then visit to nursing home.
  • Social media tools providing doctors online access to specialists to help managing tough cases and making complicated diagnoses.
  • Other tools for enhancing reputation of provider organizations, such as offering various educational resources.

Most EHR systems have the capacity of the abovementioned applications. Clinicians, though, are having difficultyBlog-2-300x168 using it and often don’t interoperate across healthcare providers. Thus, this makes social media to “rapidly become a preferred medium for patient-to-physician, patient-to-patient, and physician-to-physician communication”, says David Chou, CIO at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Some medical centers offer online support programs allowing patients diagnosed with the same disease share experiences and coping skills. Others utilize social media to engage patients and build loyalty. Some dedicate communications team to consistently send messages to the public. Despite the mentioned advantages, there were also limitations. One of which is the tendency of patients to complain every minor ache and pain, knowing their doctors are always online. Clinicians, on the other hand, complain for not being adequately compensated for the time they spend in responding to patient messages. This calls for clear guidelines for patient-doctor communication and relationships online, considering the list of potential healthcare applications for social media and collaboration platforms is almost limitless.

Some ways in which social media is able to revolutionize healthcare:


The smartphone and apps have been the catalyst for major changes at the point of care and the smartphone leading the way in healthcare is the iPhone. While not the first mobile device to be brought into the hospital, it was without a doubt the harbinger of small form factor devices being adopted for clinical care. Healthcare uses of smartphones have expanded with application development, leveraging built-in hardware including cameras, accelerometers and Bluetooth communication. There is now demand for the full enterprise environment on this mobile platform.


At many hospitals the wireless LAN (WLAN) now connects more devices than the wired LAN. It started withiStock_000009306523XSmall workstations on wheels (WoWs) and now encompasses medical devices, phones, video units, realtime locating systems (RTLS), and guest Internet access. Wi-Fi availability is the norm as we move towards a digital space with mobile adoption.


Social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, provides a platform that is transforming healthcare. It allows hospitals to reach out to staff, patients, younger audiences, and the general public in new ways. Not only does it improve patient engagement, but it provides a means to manage population health. Social media is rapidly becoming a preferred medium for patient-to-physician, patient-to-patient, and physician-to-physician communication.

Mobile health

With the increasing focus on decreasing healthcare costs, mHealth provides a spectrum of ways to leverage mobility to improve clinical work flows and outcomes. These range from video remote interpretation, to telemedicine and remote care use cases. The next step will be adoption of wearable technologies. We are in a mobile world and with mHealth, medical professionals, have the ability to make clinical decisions based on telemedicine technology and wearables. mHealth allows access to medical care from anywhere anytime. Rural areas can be provided with the same quality of care as the metropolitan population. With wearable devices and sensors individuals will be able to monitor their health the same way we monitor our cars, to stay on schedule with regular maintenance. This is a big step that offers individuals the benefits of personal big data.


Brands have limited roles in our actual social life. We just have to understand how and where we can be part of the conversation. In our regulated industry, we’re limited in what we say, so we say very little. Once we’ve recited our label, we’re going to repeat what’s on our label (and maybe offer a coupon). So, absent of any true guidelines from the FDA, what can the industry do? Particularly now that most every manufacturer is looking at ways to “go beyond the pill” and promote more of a patient-centric approach to their business. Social media should be viewed more as a way of doing business and less as a means of promotion. While promotion is a component, there are now aspects of social that can be applied to a number of areas, in a compliant way.


Moreover, the marketing function of the pharmaceutical industry needs to begin focusing on changing its thinking around social media, to more of an engagement-oriented model and less around advertising and promotion. Social media should be viewed as an integral part of the overall marketing mix and not be fixed in an area or being the domain of corporate communications. Granted, this relegates the use of social media to a couple of areas, such as those outlined above. But that is much better than doing nothing at all, or doing it badly.

Image Credits: innerworksinternational, healthcareos, parature, growmypracticeonline

Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.