In the May 24, 2009 edition of the New York Times, there’s a really good article about hospitals using web 2.0 tools in their marketing. The article is titled “Webcast Your Brain Surgery? Hospitals See Marketing Tool.” Click here to access the article.
“Faced with economic pressures and patients with abundant choices, hospitals are using unconventional, even audacious, ways of connecting directly with the public. Seeking to attract or educate patients, entice donors, gain recognition and recruit or retain top doctors, hospitals are using Twitter from operating rooms, showing surgery on YouTube and having patients blog about their procedures.” (Source: The New York Times, May 24, 2009, Pam Belluck)
As you might expecting, the idea of using Web 2.0 and social media tactics in healthcare marketing is not without its detractors.
“Some ethicists and physicians say the practices raise questions about patient privacy and could paint overly-rosy medical pictures, leaving the hospitals and patients vulnerable if things go awry.” (Source: The New York Times, May 24, 2009, Pam Belluck)
The reality is, consumers are turning to social media and the Web for healthcare information, with or without the involvement of the healthcare establishment (hospitals, medical centers and medical schools). We have a responsibility to engage these new communication channels and infuse quality healthcare information into the conversations taking place. This is not just about advertising and brand building, this is about the authoritative sources of quality healthcare information getting involved – and not sticking their heads in the sand. The experts need to stop debating the pros and cons of social media in healthcare, and begin developing social media and consumer engagement strategies.
Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer