Health care managers & social media

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  • Updated.jpg This entry is out of date, and will not be updated, February 2018


See also Digital reputation management | Enterprise 2.0 | Digital sandbox for health care managers | Finding health information for British Columbians Bc flag.png | Social media in clinical trials

Social networking through the use of Internet-based and other web media has fundamentally changed how health administrators manage services, patient and donor relations, marketing and promotion. The use of Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and other social media tools can empower health organizations and build stronger relationships in the community. Social media platforms also provide ways to engage in global conversations about health care, emerging issues of importance and even emerging health threats such as H1N1 (Human Swine Flu) in Canada and other public health concerns. Increasingly, businesses and governmental organizations are using social media as business support tools for increased brand development and recognition, low-cost promotional programs and marketing opportunities. These business objectives are enabled by a strategic blend of reputation-building, knowledge sharing and presence- building affordances (among others) of social media (Kietzmann et al., 2011).

Feedback loop

When health consumers have a negative experience in the health care system, where do they go to register a complaint? In British Columbia, patients are required to file a formal complaint with the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons. However, many patients are turning to social media to register their opinions. Even Twitter is a source of information that can impact the reputation of a physician, health agency or hospital. For social media managers, monitoring social media is critical. It may be important to know how to do searches for information in the social media spaces because some comments have greater weight depending on where they originated and whether they were syndicated. Some health organizations are developing relationships with prominent bloggers and Twitter users to get them to share their opinions and to manage feedback mechanisms for organizations.

Evidence of online education's benefits

Short course examples

Association websites

Types of web 2.0 use in healthcare

The following are examples discussed in the medical literature:

Purpose Description Case example in academic literature Users
Staying informed Used to stay informed of latest developments in a particular field RSS, Podcasts and search tools (BMJ, 2006) All (medical professionals and public)
Medical education Use for professional development for doctors, and public health promotion for by public health professionals and the general public How podcasts can be used on the move to increase total available educational time (Sandars, 2007) or the applications of these tools to public health (Crespo, 2007) All (medical professionals and public)
Collaboration and practice Web 2.0 tools use in daily practice for medical professionals to find information and make decisions Google searches revealed the correct diagnosis in 15 out of 26 cases (58%, 95% confidence interval 38% to 77%) in a 2005 study (Tan, 2006) Doctors, Nurses
Managing a particular disease Patients who use search tools to find out information about a particular condition Shown that patients have different patterns of usage depending on if they are newly diagnosed or managing a severe long-term illness. Long-term patients are more likely to connect to a community in Health 2.0 (Ferguson, 2007) Public
Sharing data for research Completing patient-reported outcomes and aggregating the data for personal and scientific research Disease specific communities for patients with rare conditions aggregate data on treatments, symptoms, and outcomes to improve their decision making ability and carry out scientific research such as observational trials (Frost, 2008) All (medical professionals and public)

HCMs and social media

Canadian HCMs and social media

Rating sites

Social media managers


Personal tools