Social Media in Healthcare: Amid Early Innings, Three Industry Leaders Agree On Marketplace Needs

SEP 10

Due to the rapid consumer adoption of new social media tools and technologies, healthcare providers and payers have been thrust into a transformative stage in regards to how they communicate with consumers and each other.  To survive and thrive in a post-reform world, these traditionally conservative organizations recognize that they must embrace social media channels to engage consumers where, when and how they choose.

Consumer-focused industries such as retail, hospitality and consumer goods have developed and deployed social approaches to engaging and nurturing consumer relationships but the healthcare industry has been somewhat slow to adopt..

“Like” it or not, social media is playing an increasingly significant role in healthcare – and reticence of key industry stakeholders is giving way.

Today’s economic and demographic realities are forcing health insurers and hospital systems to move beyond Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels to augment their social media efforts with more effective technology-enabled solutions for finding, engaging, educating and empowering consumers.

In conducting research for our latest report, THE EMERGING BUSINESS CASE FOR SOCIAL MEDIA IN HEALTHCARE, TripleTree identified more than 200 companies that are developing and deploying social media solutions in the healthcare marketplace.  Many of these companies and solutions are geared toward consumer use with a fairly narrow focus and scope, while a small number have “platform features” to support more broad-reaching social initiatives in healthcare.

Last week, we hosted a Webinar with three leaders in social media for healthcare, Mayo Clinic, Alliance Health Networks, and The Whistle, that addressed a host of key areas of focus including:

  • Utilization by hospitals and clinics
  • Practices for improving patient satisfaction
  • Support and care for chronic diseases and conditions
  • New solutions for driving healthy behaviors and gamification
  • Patient compliance education adherence
  • Multi-channel consumer engagement


These organizations are not trying to force doctors to engage with patients in a social media forum.   Instead, they are enabling and empower consumers to care for themselves through awareness, connectedness with health solutions and education.  They are also helping health insurers, bio-pharma companies and health systems learning more about how and why their members and patients are making health-related decisions.

The speakers discussed a range of ROI considerations for social media business models.  We’re still at a point where consistent, accepted methods of measure the value of social media are early, but we’re confident that the healthcare organizations that move forward with social strategies will be those who most intuitively understand healthcare consumers – and pave the path the segment leadership.

Fundamental changes are underway as healthcare executives and marketers grapple with consumer-driven social media channels.  Our long-standing conviction is that many of the issues facing healthcare will be addressed by players from outside the industry.  As social media tools blur the lines between how people view advice from their doctor versus anonymous strangers and traditional care versus self-care, we are watching closely as the lessons from retail and other consumer-facing industries bleed into healthcare.

A recording of the Webinar is available on our Home Page and in the Events section of our Web site at tripletree.staging.spydertrapdev.com. Let us know what you think.

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Chris Hoffmann