Social media has long been felt to be a great strategy for marketing your medical practice. Now it has actually been proven!

According to two studies published in the Journal  BMJ Quality & Safety, reviewing posts on twitter and other social media sites, gives great insight into health outcomes and the care that was rendered in both hospitals and doctors’ offices.

Jared Hawkins of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Computational Health Informatics Program and Boston Children’s Chief Innovation Officer John Brownstein, Ph.D. amassed more than 400,000 public tweets in the U.S. between 2012 and 2013 toward hospital twitter names.  As many as 34,735 patient experience tweets directed at 1,726 hospital-owned Twitter accounts were tagged and then  sorted by positive, neutral,or  negative ratings.   Categories used were time, communication and pain.

“We were able to capture what people were happy or mad about, in an unsolicited way,” Hawkins said. “No one else is looking at patient experience this way because surveys ask very targeted questions. Unsurprisingly, you get back very targeted, narrow answers.”

This varied from the data collected by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems.

In the second study, conducted by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, many adult consumers are willing to share their social media data and medical information for research purposes. Using this data may make it feasible to associate social media content and health outcomes.

Greater than 1,000 people asked to share digital information regarding emergency visits,agreed to share  over a seven-month period. The social media content included nearly 1.4 million posts and tweets to Facebook and Twitter.

Individuals with a given diagnosis in their EMR were more likely to use terms related to that diagnosis on Facebook than patients without that diagnosis in their EMR.

“These findings suggests that social media is a promising avenue for exploring how patients conceptualize and communicate about their specific health issues,” coauthor Lyle Ungar, Ph.D,, a professor of Computer Science at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science said.

“We see this as just the first of many studies to come examining the relationship between health and social media.”

Have you been viewing twitter as a means to see how your patients have been viewing their treatments and success rates?  It may be an eyeopener!  Certainly it is an available avenue for you to know how satisfied they were and in what areas that you can improve to provide stellar treatment that patients are happy with.  Of course, this will spread by word of mouth through the community, increasing your reputation as well as practice growth.

Don’t miss out on social media participation.  If you don’t have time, enlist the aid of a social media expert.  Contact me at 561-325-9664 for a free consultation.