Organizations Without a Social Media Strategy Could Be at a Disadvantage

By Brian T. Horowitz  |  Posted 2012-04-18 Print this article Print

In a recent white paper "Should Healthcare Organizations Use Social Media?" IT integrator and cloud service provider CSC calls on health care organizations to adopt a more formal social media strategy.

According to PwC, organizations that don't adopt a social media strategy could have a competitive disadvantage in finding new patients.

"Social media is another source of business intelligence that provides information at the aggregate level, not only about what consumers 'like,' but what they need, how they behave and when their experiences demand an immediate response," Daniel Garrett, U.S. health information technology leader at PwC, said in a statement. "Health organizations can engage IT to integrate social data intelligence with existing systems and processes, yet most are still struggling with how to manage the data from their own clinical systems."

Meanwhile, health organizations see social media as separate from a social business strategy, according to PwC. Half of eHI members surveyed had concerns about how to integrate social media into a successful business strategy.

Businesses in health care are behind those in retail and hospitality in adopting social media tools, PwC reported.

Despite concerns about violating Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rules, some physicians are loosening up and adopting social media as they become more comfortable with PCs and adopt electronic health records (EHRs), said Settle.

Many EHR platforms have built-in messaging portals, Settle noted.

In fact, Practice Fusion announced on April 18 that it has added a messaging component to its EHR application to allow physicians to communicate with each other and boost continuity of care.

"Our messaging feature makes communication between providers as easy as sending a Facebook message to a friend€”and this could mean the difference between life and death for a patient," Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard said in a statement.

When health care companies get more up-to-speed with social tools, they'll need to monitor them often to meet patient expectations. More than 75 percent of consumers surveyed expect providers to respond to patient appointment inquiries through social media within a day, according to PwC.


Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company,, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents,, USA Weekend and, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.

Follow him on Twitter: @bthorowitz


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