Have you ever encountered a patient who conducted their own research online and is now anxious about their diagnosis? These individuals, dubbed as “online diagnosers,” are reaching out to their social networks for advice or in anticipation of a visit to their healthcare provider. Facing such situations could serve as a chance to reassess your online patient interactions.
PATIENT ENGAGEMENT AT ITS CORE
Patient engagement emphasizes collaboration and communication between you and the patients you serve. It empowers individuals to be active participants in their own health and healthcare decisions, leading to better health outcomes, increased satisfaction, and improved overall quality of care.
Here’s what you need to know about social networks and what they mean for patient engagement.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PATIENT ENGAGEMENT
Patients who are actively involved in their healthcare journey see many benefits from having a healthcare provider who works in partnership with and communicates to meet a patient’s needs. Some of which are:
- Improved Health Outcomes
- Better Patient Satisfaction
- Increased Adherence to Treatment Plans
- Prevention and Early Intervention
Globally, the average person has roughly 8.4 social networking accounts. Given that the average person spends a total of 147 minutes on social networks daily, there is always an opportunity to reach your patients, and potential patients, regardless of what social network they utilize.
POOR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER-PATIENT RELATIONSHIPS CAN BE COSTLY
A lack of patient engagement is like navigating a journey without a compass, patients feel lost, confused, ill-equipped, and distressed.
Good patient engagement is vital in turning a provider-centric model into a patient-centered approach. By not establishing meaningful engagement with patients, repercussions may include:
- Poor decision-making
- Reduced patient satisfaction
- Decreased treatment adherence
- Lost opportunities for preventative care
- Communication gaps
However, social networks have the potential to facilitate patient engagement by providing information, support, and a platform for healthcare professionals to interact with patients and caregivers.
PATIENTS TRUST THEIR SOCIAL NETWORKS. BECOME THEIR TRUSTED SOURCE.
To understand the role social networks play in healthcare, we must first understand what social networks have to offer.
Social networks provide a chance to communicate in ways we never could before. Whether it’s sharing news with family and friends far away, or being entertained during a global pandemic, it’s not hard to find what we need online. Here are a few ways we utilize social networks.
- Community Building
Each of these represents things we associate with modern life, building relationships, enabling communication, and especially engagement, on a massive scale.
MEETING PATIENTS WHERE THEY ARE ONLINE
From Facebook to TikTok, people have made social networks an important part of their lives. Let’s look at some of the benefits social networks can have for your patients.
- Increased access to healthcare resources.
- Real-time health updates and alerts.
- Virtual support during a health crisis.
Facebook has an estimated 2.9 billion active users monthly. Twitter has over 350 million active users monthly. While 40% of people use Instagram. It’s no surprise that Google searches have become an increasingly popular first step in determining potential underlying health issues.
WHAT ARE THE DRAWBACKS OF USING SOCIAL NETWORKS TO ENGAGE PATIENTS?
Before you jump into the social networking pool, consider these potential risks to yourself and your patients:
You can mitigate these risks by promoting education about online privacy, ensuring security protocols are in place, and establishing ethical guidelines for all healthcare providers.
Social networks have the power to enhance patient engagement by providing valuable resources, support systems, real-time communication, accountability, and fostering patient-driven research and development. They play an increasingly significant role in shaping the healthcare landscape, improving patient engagement both during and after office visits.
CONTACT US TODAY!
Talk to PatientX today about partnering with an experienced healthcare marketing agency–and see how we can make a difference for you.
About the Author:
As the COO of PatientX, Kimberly wears many hats. She’s a delegator, a doer, a cheerleader, and a cracker of whips, but what sets her apart is her achieving, go-getter spirit. Kimberly is heavily involved in nearly every project PatientX undertakes, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. As a proud maximizer, she relishes the daily opportunity to help her team members and clients perform at their highest level. Throughout her sixteen-year career, Kimberly has served as an Executive Director for two non-profits while also running two campaigns in South Dakota, and she has experience in all facets of public relations, marketing, executive management, leadership development, public speaking, and event planning. Her love of people and helping others succeed is apparent in her work at PatientX and throughout her life and career.