Social media and healthcare can be an ideal combination. Social networks have not only become a place for getting positively engaged, but also a source of getting a lot of health-related information. Almost 90% of older adults use social media to seek and share information about medicine, and disease control.
It’s not easy to navigate the challenges of social media in healthcare. Government, agencies, health officials and brands need to create engaging social content that is informative, quick, and accurate. Moreover, you also need to follow all relevant industries rules and regulations.
Let’s discuss the benefits of using the social media in healthcare.
Health care authorities must provide important information on immunization, pandemic, virus, etc. Raising awareness means reminding followers about routine health practices or addressing common healthy living concerns. But when circumstances are fast changing, and social media is an important source to make people aware of the latest issues, guidelines, and advisories. One of the most effective ways to do that is to share information directly in your social posts.
Another option would be to use social media to direct followers to credible sources of current information. This could direct them to your website, or to public health social accounts. Raising awareness about trusted sources makes it easier for your followers to understand false healthcare social media claims they often see on these platforms.
Social media is very effective in quickly spreading information among various groups of people. It’s great when the information is true, useful, and clear. At the same time, there’s also a lot of misinformation about health and diseases on social networks. Such misinformation sometimes comes in the form of false statements. You can easily debunk them by giving references of published research or the latest information from a prestigious institution like the WHO or CDC.
But it becomes difficult when the creators and propagators of misinformation quote a reputed institution’s name to give credibility to their statements. In such cases, it becomes important for that institution to clarify their position, and tell the truth. Fake news has become a major problem and social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp are trying their best to address this problem. They have only succeeded partially to control the menace of fake news. Consequently, a large number of users have shifted their allegiance to new and innovative platforms such as Chingari, Houseparty, Helo, or CoNnEcTd because these new players go an extra mile to ensure the authenticity of their contents.
Compared to print or the electronic media, social media has now become more important source of information for people. Therefore, it has more responsibilities to share breaking news. As Corona pandemic escalated, people turned to government health officials for the latest information and instructions. Government medical health officials have used social media effectively for healthcare communication. They were regularly sharing official statistics and notifications during the crisis period. A consistent and reliable platform is a critical resource for everyone during a crisis.
Replying to common queries
Government authorities and health organizations associated with healthcare sector is a valuable source of information about all kinds of health concerns. Social media tools offer innovative ways for healthcare professionals to address common queries. There is a very good example of this feature in the way government of India used Facebook Messenger and chatbot to spread awareness among general public. It is useful in answering queries, direct citizens to the right resources, and counter misinformation.
People generally post a lot of things online. Therefore, Hashtags such as #Covid19, #Coronavirus, or #H5N1 can give details about the appearance of diseases in new locations. Government health authorities can even get a sense of the severity of symptoms.