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Benefits and Risks of Using Social Media in Contemporary Healthcare

Benefits and Risks of Using Social Media
July 06, 2021
Author : Keith Morris

We live in an opportune time when the internet and social media have changed every aspect of life. From shopping for groceries to attending online classes, the internet has brought about a sea change in people’s lives allowing them to do more from the comfort of their homes. There is no doubt that there are several indescribable important characteristics of the internet. It helps the consumers in making more informed decisions when it comes to health care and other services. The consumers can navigate through the websites and social media handles of various organizations, institutions and businesses to check out their features, prices and unique selling points. This helps them perform a comparative analysis between the various services to choose the best one.

However, there is a dark underbelly to this. Social media handles have become interactive platforms where patients can seek and post reviews. Therefore, just a single bad review can change the game. It can be quite difficult for any health care facility to counter the effects that a bad review can bring upon their business and the reputations of their institution. In this blog, we will be discussing some of the most pressing issues surrounding the use of social media handles and their impact on the healthcare industry. Read on to know more about the benefits And Risks Of Using Social Media In Contemporary Healthcare.

benifits of social media

The IoT has a dark underbelly when it comes to Healthcare

Ever since the advent of the internet, people have relied on the webspace to get information about commodities and services. Social media has indeed played a very important role in facilitating awareness about various services. However, there is a serious downside to this dependence upon the internet; especially for the health care sector. With the emergence of popular handles like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, social media has begun to play an important role in the health care sector. Not only is it helping the consumers in making decisions, but it is also helping patients in engaging with their health care providers. More and more medical institutions are also turning to this medium to interact with their patients. Here are some of the most manifest benefits And Risks Of Using Social Media In Contemporary Healthcare that are brought to the fore due to this trend. 

The Most Prominent Risks Faced by Healthcare Workers When They Use Social Media

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Detriment to the Image and Reputation 

One of the biggest problems associated with the use of social media is that it can cause irreparable and irretrievable damage to the professional image and reputation of a doctor, medical practitioner or the image of an institution as a whole. Ever since the advent of social media, users are quick to form a perception about the service quality and efficacy after reading the reviews posted by other users and by understanding the experiences of the other consumers. This poses a great challenge before the institution to take all due care and caution to ensure that their social media handles are looked after and all concerns and queries posted by aggrieved customers are duly attended to. In today’s times, a single bad review can snowball into a social media campaign causing irreparable damage to the image and reputation of an institution.

Lack of Boundaries 

Another problem that has emerged as a result of social media is the easy access to health care providers. This blurring of boundaries between the patient and the medical practitioners can become problematic In many ways. The consumers must understand that it is not possible for the health caregivers; doctors or staff to respond to the patients immediately. However, out of frustration, many patients take to social media to vent out their dissatisfaction with the services of their doctors.

It is important both for the doctors and patients to set some boundaries in this regard. The best way to go about this is to have different personal and professional social media accounts. Also, the health caregiver must manifestly state on their social media accounts that they will not be giving out any professional information on their social media accounts. The institutions must also make it amply clear that they will not be addressing the concerns of patients on social media handles.

There Is Considerable Risk to The Privacy of the Patients

Though the major risk that the use of social media poses is to the health caregivers, it cannot be denied that there is also a considerable detriment caused to the patients themselves. Even though most of the health care providers are sufficiently trained on protecting the particulars and details of the patients, there are many cases where the privacy of the patients is inadvertently breached causing considerable harm to the patients and their security. The patients and medical practitioners need to understand the risks associated with the use of social media. They must not discuss the patient’s health issues on a public platform. Even if they do, they must be mindful of the statutory regulations and guidelines in this regard.

Several Issues May Arise as A Result of Non-Compliance with The Employer Social Media Standards

Many hospitals and medical institutions have very stringent rules regarding the use of social media. The rules have been formulated keeping in mind the privacy and security of the patients. Confidentiality of the patients is also an important consideration here. Employers and hospitals may also remove their employees for breaching the terms of their social media usage. On posting anything that could be detrimental to the image of the institution, the employee’s services may also be terminated for one and all.

Benefits of Social Media for Medical Practitioners

One of the biggest benefits of social media to healthcare providers is that it helps them promote and propagate their brand on social media. Social media can also be used to amplify the voice of the institution or to convey an essential message. Whether you are dietician nutrition who is giving daily nutrition tips, or a cardiologist making people aware of the risks posed to heart health in the contemporary lifestyle, social media can be used as an active instrument of spreading awareness and promoting your brand. Social media can be used as a tool that helps health caregivers in engaging with the patients regularly.

Bottom Line

Social media also helps the medical institution or doctor in reaching out to a greater number of prospective patients and clients. It is a great platform to create awareness about the efficacy and efficiency of the services. It can also be used to carry out general discourse about health care. It is therefore of great importance that health care institutions must have a detailed SEO strategy in place to discuss issues related to general health care. Also, businesses and organizations that are active on social media record greater engagement and rank higher on the platforms, therefore, providing the customers with the assurance that the practices are trustworthy and reliable. Therefore, social media is a great way to establish credibility.

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About the Author

Keith Morris

Keith Morris

Keith Morris is a certified nurse who retired as a registered nurse after participating in a WHO campaign in Geneva. He is dedicated to helping students score good grades in their nursing courses and are offered a chance to help the people and establish a better healthcare community across the globe. He works as a nurse at a local clinic with underprivileged children and provides assignment guidance to the students. Reflection writing, aged care, Gibbs reflective cycle, cardiac nursing, pathophysiology, etc. are a few to name from his area of dominance.

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