Hospitals and doctors are using social networking as a means of delivering a higher level of customer service by providing more communication with patients and their families.
Every fifteen minutes the patient’s family receives an update on a Blackberry from the operating room, which gives them a status report and informs them how the patient is doing. Surgeons use Twitter to report the details of an ongoing surgery. Patients receive educational information from their doctor concerning the health issue they face. Prospective surgical patients watch a webcast of the surgery they are considering. Instead of going to the doctor’s office, a patient receives answers electronically to her health questions.
All the above are real examples of social media being used by healthcare providers as cited by Nirvi Shah in a November 9th article in the Miami Herald. Social media tools are increasingly being used to provide information, and a higher level of customer service.
Many hesitate to use social media due to concerns about patient privacy. But users avoid those concerns by using just one of a patient’s initials or just the age of patients. Messages are generally vague so that they would only make sense to the patient’s family. And public posts are simply educational or very general in regard to details.
Many patients consider the use of social media tools as modern day bedside manner. It’s a way to make a stronger connection between the healthcare provider and patient. It’s a means of making patients and their family more comfortable.
The tools of social media provide a wide range of opportunities to improve and enhance customer service. Educational information and one-to-one conversations delivered through social media venues can be an extremely valuable asset to hospitals and physicians. In a very competitive environment, the adoption of such tools can create a very significant advantage.