Why does healthcare need social media?

photo courtesy of http://bit.ly/pSGu3P

Mobile healthcare app downloads are predicted to top 44 million this year, and patients increasingly turn to social media platforms for peer advice and support.On the physician side, tech adoption continues via mobile platforms and integrated EHR solutions. Pharma marketers have done a respectable job of reaching these distinct audiences. The next step is to fully leverage the power of digital and social to maximize the most important dynamic of all—the doctor/patient relationship.– by Chad Latz on MM&M.com


The healthcare industry has been slower than most to join the ranks of organizations that engage their customers directly through social media conversations. This is largely due to two sets of regulations that protect patients: HIPPA that protects a patient’s right to confidentiality and FDA communication regulations that assure prescription drug information is truthful, balanced and accurately communicated. Penalty for breeching either of these federally mandated sets of rules is severe– $$$, loss of business, or even jail time.

So, why enter any communication situation that isn’t completely controlled with that much at stake? Well, many pharma companies and healthcare providers think this question is rhetorical. With this blog, I will explore the other side of this proverbial coin, and answer to this million dollar (pun intended) question.

In my opinion, the simple answer is that if healthcare and pharmaceutical companies don’t join in the conversation, they may no, they will end up excluded.

How, do you ask? And why is this important?

Social media is, of course, a form of communication that can potentially– as all others–be abused. More importantly, however, it has great potential to promote more candid provider-patient, provider-provider and patient-patient communication and ultimately help improve awareness and general health (Great point, Colin Son!).

This kind of open and honest communication between consumers and healthcare professionals (I lump more than just doctors into this; drug reps, nurses, dentists, consumer health product sales people, pharmacists…) provides countless opportunities for not only happy & healthy consumers, but ultimately more revenue for the companies. And what corporation would complain about that?

Sweeping claim? Maybe. Proof? Keep reading my blog to read my support!


5 thoughts on “Why does healthcare need social media?

  1. Interesting insights on healthcare and social media. I find healthcare to be a highly specialized industry. Do you think pharma companies will have difficulty finding a social media expert competent enough to keep them out of regulatory hot water but savvy enough to create engaging posts? Do any examples come to mind?

  2. Boehringer comes to mind as far as Pharma brands making good use of the big platforms; in this case, Twitter. Their account is http://twitter.com/boehringer
    They utilize that account to not only send out corporate communications but to actively engage people as well. Additionally, it was recently noted they are about to get into the blogging side of things as well.


    Jason Boies
    Radian6 Community Team

  3. Pingback: Doctors go digital to help patients | health socially

  4. Pingback: CASE STUDY: Facebook & Adverse Events | health socially

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s