Social Media enables people to interact and share, which makes it inherently useful for healthcare providers and patients and this post gives two great examples. The University of Maryland Medical Center and Mayo Clinic use Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to share information with their communities. More important, however, each hospital allows members of its community to share with each other.
It is inspiring to read Mayo Clinic’s wall. Patients talk about their treatment at Mayo, and it has significant impact. Others ask for advice on their medical conditions and try to connect with other patients. Mayo’s Facebook page has over 27,000 “likes” (followers). They were truly an early adopter, launching their Facebook presence in 2008. Their commitment and hard work have paid off as evidenced by the strong sense of community on their page.
The University of Maryland’s Facebook page does not specify when it launched, but it looks like they are still in the building stage. The portion of patient communication is lower; it appears that they are using Facebook to share videos and other health information. Both hospitals use video extensively to provide information on innovation and new procedures.
Social Media is naturally relevant to medical tourism because it enables people to share very specific information irrespective of their geographical locations. Patients already ask each other’s advice on medical tourism and treatments in general. Theoretically, patients could read physicians’ comments and points of view on procedures and interact with them. It is a very human impulse that will be increasingly realized, a trend to watch.
For more information on the University of Maryland Medical Center and Mayo Clinic, see Social Media Offer Real Community Engagement for Hospitals.