Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Social Media to revolutionize the Healthcare and Medical Devices Space.

As more and more companies today realize the potential of Marketing and communication of Social Media, tools like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ have become a way of life and a powerful economic driving force.

Today a mind boggling number of 80% online users search of healthcare information on the web. Look back and I’m sure even you would have just googled information on some drug or medical equipment and read the comments and reviews left by the other online users. Lots of people in this way are referred to healthcare resources through friends on their social network.

As a matter of fact, Social Media is expected be one of the fastest growing professions by 2018 according to an independent survey by Bureau of Labor Statistics. But Social Media isn’t just face of the Marketing World. I believe it will have a huge impact in the realm of all the cycle of healthcare and medical equipments or devices.

Below are few of the pointers I carry as a vision on impact of Social Media on Healthcare and Medical devices sector:
  1. It would enable all the Healthcare Professional and Medical Devices Engineers to collaborate in a single channel leading to better service and product development real-time. This also opens up a channel of Knowledge transfer and exchange of ideas for a greater and faster growth.
  2. Might sound a little weird but Social Media can even enable patients suffering from serious diseases to network and share their experiences with one another. This has a psychological effect on improved health as they feel less alone and isolated. Also they can be updated about all the developments and advancement in the Medical Treatment and research space.
  3. Social Media would enable a unified voice for better healthcare initiatives. Users of social media have become the new watchdogs of industry. Patients and clients can use their power as part of an online social network to advocate better practices and expose abuses of the health care system. Research that once would have taken hours, or even days to track down in a library is readily available and ripe for sharing. This will lead to more educated patients willing to ask tough questions of medical professionals and health care providers.
  4. Social media will attract people who want to hear from someone they can relate to. Often, in the heath care world, customers and patients feel like they are being talked down to or not taken seriously by authorities in the medical, professional and government realm.
  5. Finally on the wholistic view point, Social Media can also help develop the Doctor-Patient Relationship. There are plenty of physicians, nurses and health care professionals who aren’t using Twitter or blogging. Experimenting with this could open up a new avenue of communication, allowing professionals to adapt and meet the needs of patients and customers.

Just like any business, social media may have a huge impact on the health care system. There will be challenges for doctors and other professionals looking for the right way to implement social media, but it’s a learning experience, one with the potential for huge advantages.


  1. Hi Viral

    Very interesting piece and social media activism is on the rise in healthcare. The challenge is to clearly articulate the advantages and modify the social network usage. Doctors from France and Spain have been using G + and FB respectively to discuss cases using closed groups. Going forward the implications of SM usage in healthcare are going to increase.

  2. Thanks Vikram and indeed agree to your statement that in case of Healthcare and Medicine the real question in Not about using the Social Media or not, it's about HOW it's to be put to use. A best practice on this with a business case would be the way ahead.

  3. Point #2 is an important one. The continued formation of online patient communities is an opportunity not only for patients but for health professionals to engage each other and share information.
    Having it all in one place is AND having active contribution from health pros should go a long way towards keeping patients away from misinformation.

    Cheers (and hello to Vikram!) :)

    Jason Boies
    Radian6 Community Team

  4. Hi Jason, Glad that you appreciate the fact that Social Media can play a very vital role in multiple ways. As you've rightly stated, a collaborative effort not only enables patients to connect with one another, but also gives the Medical researchers a channel to get their mission critical statistics real-time as well as it can act as a channel of creating awareness or passing information.

    I'd suggest you to study this interesting social networking site exclusively on this context:

    Also what in your opinion is the required to break the inertia and gain momentum in this maneuver of enabling Social Media as an active channel of communication in Health, Medicine and Medical Devices sector?

    Would love to hear from you.


  5. Hi Jason

    Good to hear from you, I think online healthcare communities are a must for patient advocacy and for exchanging healthcare information. There are physician groups in France and Spain who have been using G+ amd Facebook to exchange information and to discuss cases including comparing notes on diagnosis. I did cover them on my blog

    Do let me know your thoughts on the same?

  6. HI Viral,
    Nice article. Indeed a good read. On one hand whilst the transformation is happening in the Doctor-patient relationship, pharma companies too can become more social and interact with responsible communication.
    Social Media is throwing up an open transparent platform for exchange of knowledge and information both ways which is much needed to change the outlook of the healthcare industry.

  7. @ Viral

    To answer your question, continued nudging of health practitioners into the social space is necessary at this point. Patients and consumers are ALREADY THERE, it's the industry that needs to head on in and meet them. :)

    Continued evangelizing of the benefits of social media, curation of best practices such as articles likes this one from Dr. Howard Luks

    And THIS more recent one from Dr. Vartabedian.

    Terrific road maps for the journey into social for health practitioners.


    Jason B