"Social media is changing the nature of healthcare interaction, and health organizations that ignore this virtual environment may be missing opportunities to engage consumers."
That was the very ominous and foreboding opening line from a press release announcing the findings of a report done by the Health Research Institute (HRI) at PwC US.
Anytime I see the words "engage" and "missing" I am automatically intrigued because as we all know it's all about engagement: how to get engaged with your customers, how to stay engaged with your customers and how to ensure they stay engaged with you.
The report compared the social media activity of hospitals, pharma companies and health insurers to that of community sites and as you can see there is no comparison as community sites had 24 times more social media activity than corporate sites.
This is very significant as the report aptly points out in that it has serious implications for "businesses looking to capitalize on social media opportunities."
The report also includes findings from an HRI social media survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers and 124 members of the eHealth Initiative and include the following results:
What Does It All Mean?
Well I am glad you asked...
What it all means, as the chart below demonstrates so well, is there is a golden opportunity for the hospitals, pharma companies and health insurers of the world to engage with their customers and prospects.
I realize the hospitals, pharma companies and health insurers of the world are very reticent to engage via social media for fear of all the rules and regulations that govern their every move but... at the very least you can engage people at a high level, yes?
Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review, Steve Olenski is a freelance writer/blogger currently looking for full-time work. He has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and has over 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. He lives in Philly and can be reached via email,Twitter, LinkedIn or his website.