Did you know that hospitals have been using social media networks to streamline healthcare processes for quite a few years now? Even in 2009, more than 100 hospitals across the globe had presence on various social media networks, including Facebook and Twitter. Now, the number has increased at least 5-6 times!
That should not come as a surprise to anyone, though. Hospitals are one of the busiest types of organizations out there, and could certainly benefit from the widespread reach that social media networks offer. Picture someone on the street spotting a wounded person and tweeting it right away on the Twitter stream of the hospital’s helpline. Or perhaps a blood bank sending direct messages to doctors about the groups of blood they have in stock. When shared properly and at the correct moment, such information can potentially save hundreds, or even thousands of lives each day!
However, the catch here is to use the social media networks properly. Without that, all efforts would be in vain. Here are some of the conditions that a hospital must fulfill, for example, in order to benefit substantially from a social media project:
1. Social media savvy staff: At least 25% (or more) of the staff members need to have personal accounts on Twitter, and/or Facebook, and need to have a habit of using those networks on a regular basis. That way, those employees will be able to teach other staff the proper ways of using social media networks, and allow the hospital to start the project on the right foot.
2. Starting on a small scale, and spreading out slowly from there: Simply designing a highly attractive Facebook page or a Twitter account and starting to post updates aggressively is not the way a social media campaign should start. The ideal way to start would be to find out how many patients visiting the hospital have presence in social media, by running a small survey. Once that has been found, the hospital authorities should start with Twitter, if possible. Twitter accounts are fairly easy to manage, and putting a small team of employees on the job should be enough. As more and more people start following the account, the hospital staff could start working on building a Facebook page.
3. Hiring a social media firm to handle the job: Hiring a reputed social media company to take care of the launching of the project as well as maintenance of the same would be a very smart idea. That way, the entire project will be carried out smoothly, without a hitch. Besides, the employees of the social media company can also teach the hospital staff the proper ways of using social media.
It can be pretty iffy for hospitals to delve into the ever changing world of social media without proper guidance. Proper usage of the networks and assistance from a social media company would be great ways of ensuring that the projects go on smoothly, and allow the hospital to reap maximum benefits from the project.