In the United States, social media has taken a stronghold over the last several years. It is no longer merely a source of connecting friends or family - companies have now jumped on the social media bandwagon to market their products and services directly to the consumers, without having to allocate nearly as many funds for their marketing department. Besides the United States, countries around the world have been implementing social media to communicate their ideas and products.
Healthcare IT News reports that researchers at CSC - a provider of technological solutions - have released a study on other countries' use of social media within the healthcare arena. This study shows that social networks can improve information sharing, communications and even medical outcomes.
In other countries, social media is no longer being used to brand a healthcare facility, but to spread information and knowledge, according to CSC research analyst Caitlin Lorincz.
"What we really thought was interesting from our study is that social media is a great way to engage patients," Lorincz told the news source.
In countries where acquiring more patients is not a critical issue, healthcare providers focus social network strategies on care management and patient education. Also, social media can be used to share patient data between medical facilities.
In 2009, Rabound Academic Medical Center in the Netherlands set up a web-based community to provide information to their young adult cancer patients. This program has gained positive results, as fewer patients have unscheduled medical appointments and patient satisfaction is high.
However, sharing patient data freely online could compromise this information and cause various HIPAA violations within a medical facility. Healthcare providers looking to institute a social media program should consider speaking to a healthcare IT consulting company that can guide the organization in the right direction.