At first thought one would really wonder what connection there is between hospitals and Facebook….
Hospital – a medical institution where sick people are treated from simple outpatient treatment to lengthy stays for chronic illness or recuperation from surgery.
Facebook – probably the second or third most popular Internet destination, boasting 400 million users on the 6th anniversary of its founding.
Per the image below, email is a one-to-many form of communication – think of a tree: one trunk supports many branches and leaves. Facebook, is a many-to-many form of communication, users join groups; users create fan pages even pages belonging to corporations for example, Microsoft. Updates and posts sent by any user to the pages or groups in turn reach all the users in the group.
A hospital can use a social-media site like Facebook, to communicate with its patient community. An excellent resource for social-media and healthcare is Edward Bennet’s blog, FoundInCache. For example, he lists one thousand hospitals that use social media.
- To market the hospital: Yes a hospital is a consumer entity that needs to be sold to patients. Patients do, and should have, a choice of where to get their healthcare. Thus the overall marketing campaign of a hospital should include social-media sites like Facebook.
- To solicit feedback: Patients and their family/friends, can openly comment on the quality of care and treatment that a hospital provides.
- Online support network for patients: Patients can share treatment options on their maladies and exchange useful tips on what worked and did not. For example, MDAnderson Cancer hospital has several online support options for patients.