Friday, January 30, 2009

Health Care and Social Media

One of the most interesting areas where social media will make an impact is in the health care industry. Most people would readily admit the last two groups to adopt any technology are lawyers and doctors. Of the two, I think that the doctors, and the larger healthcare industry, will be much more rapid adopters of social media. Here is why:

- Government regulation: healthcare reform, medical process management, electronic health records are all trends that, for better or worse, are pushing technology and healthcare workers together. It's easier to adopt social media when you are already using a mobile device, PC or laptop to view professional development videos, process medicare forms, view/send patient records and run your hospital/HMO/personal office.

- Generational shift: as the Baby Boomers move into retirement, they will create openings in senior management for people who are comfortable using technology to communicate transparently with peers, co-workers, vendors and customers.

- Customer demand: patients have adopted social media with amazing rapidity. They are now used to communicating with their service providers in a community type environment where the corporation's voice is merely one among many. Smart companies have mastered this new viral, less controlled communications environment. Less nimble companies have fumbled this opportunity to recreate relationships on a stronger basis, and have suffered sales and market share effects. Organizations as diverse as insurance companies to hospitals to medical device companies to professional associations will have to master social media in order to communicate effectively with their stakeholders.

What do you think? Am I off base? I'd like to get your feedback. Leave a comment below or feel free to fill out a quick three question survey I running on the use of social media and the healthcare industry http://tinyurl.com/6fscao
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