A new nationwide study by Verasoni AhHa! (New York, N.Y.) and Simon Associates Management Consultants of how hospitals across the United States use Facebook suggests that hospitals are not using the social media site to its capacity to engage patients, build healthcare communities, or develop their hospital brands.
Only a few hospitals across the U.S. are utilizing social media to connect with patients, improve the health status of the community and extend their brand, and these hospitals are doing it very well. The majority is not, the study indicates
The study looks at various types of relevant Facebook activities and tactics for 120 hospitals of various sizes and affiliations across the United States. The study includes an analysis of the size of network, frequency and types of posts, and the use of the integration tools available on Facebook, among other measures. "While the numbers clearly indicate that patients are on Facebook, it is the job of hospitals to find them, and engage them in a meaningful way. And, just because a hospital is on Facebook doesn't mean that they are building a meaningful Facebook experience for both the hospital and the patient," said Abe Kasbo, CEO of Verasoni Worldwide, co-author of the study.
On hospital pages where there is a high degree of interaction between the hospital and members, the study found that patients, family members, friends and members of the community used the hospital's Facebook presence to share experiences, laud, connect, and recommend hospital services, and in some cases praise certain physicians.