Social Media has become a major component of hospitals marketing efforts to better communicate with patients, staff and their communities. As with any new emerging technology there are benefits and risks associated with social media marketing. ECRI has provided good information as your facility embraces social media.
ECRI Institute issues new guidance on social media in healthcare
The healthcare industry, driven by concerns about the many risks social media poses, has been slower than other industries in adopting social media. However, the rate of adoption has increased in the past two to three years. As of October 2011, over a thousand hospitals have recognized the significant potential benefits-most prominently, improved patient and community outreach and communication-and are actively using social networking tools. These hospitals’ 4,000 social networking sites include 1,068 Facebook pages and 814 Twitter accounts.
ECRI Institute has been closely following the rapid emergence of social media over the past five years and published a new risk analysis, Social Media in Healthcare, to help healthcare providers face the unique risks social media poses.
This research, part of ECRI Institute’s Healthcare Risk Control System membership, found that hospitals and other healthcare organizations use social media in ways that attempt to meet consumer demand. ECRI Institute recommends that in doing so, these hospitals must create and enforce social media plans that define how engaged the organization will be, who its audience will be, and who will be responsible for managing social media outlets, as well as establish policies and procedures for managing risks related to privacy, reputation management, and employment issues.
Paul Anderson, ECRI Institute Director, Risk Management Publications, has spoken extensively on the topic to risk management and patient safety professionals across the country. He states, “I won’t tell you that you have to join Facebook or set up a Twitter account, but your patients and staff are using these tools. Healthcare managers would be shortsighted not to consider both the risks and benefits that social media presents. Yes, there are privacy and reputational risks, but social media can present tremendous opportunities for hospitals to communicate with their communities, patients, and staff.” To watch Paul discuss this on YouTube visit here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cVgP0BrE2k&list=UUy7MHJazvPwxIZtXQbxaKPQ&index=3&feature=plcp