Social media is today, playing a crucial role in almost every sphere of business activity including health care.
While social media is moving quickly to influence consumers, it also serves as an important source of information for people who are researching health care online.
Although patients still trust their doctors, they also want more impersonal information about health care, symptoms, diseases, and medicines.
It may thus not be incorrect to assume that online health seekers are increasingly using social media to make healthcare decisions.
However, there is a fair degree of distrust in the minds of viewers when it comes to healthcare information – particularly OTC drugs.
Although most patients admitted they have gone to a pharmaceutical product website, they found the information inadequate and misleading and the audience also felt that there was too much of sales talk.
Most viewers wanted to see a list of competitive medications so that they can compare benefit/cost/side effects.
Interestingly, adults below 30 years tended to rely on social media for health information and eager to seek accurate information about drug side effects, costs, and dosage recommendations. People above 40 years were more circumspect and used social media only for help and support.
Medical professionals concede that social media is becoming more important in filling the missing pieces of health information and knowing the patient reaction, especially about negative side effects.
Quite often anxious patients want to ask critical health questions and searching social media for answers. However, very few patients trust the information they find on social media.
For example, if someone reads about the side effect of a medicine mentioned on social media they also want to know more and know how this could affect them.
If a health website has a known relationship with a pharmaceutical company, patients are more likely to be skeptical of the health information on that site.
People invariably feel they are not going to tell the truth and will be more commercial-minded. An online health site needs to be more transparent and impartial when it comes to their relationship with viewers.
An online community is keen for knowing about hospitals/nursing homes/caregivers and their record of service and the money they collect as fees.
The more serious the health condition, the more time a patient spends online researching health information. Patients are understandably curious to know how it is going to affect the quality of their lives.
People on social media want health information from qualified physicians and surgeons and not a communication from a pharmaceutical company.
As a summary, social media use by patients is still evolving and there is also more trust of biotech firms that are delivering high-quality drugs.Tags: role of social media marketing in healthcare, social media marketing in healthcare, What is the role of social media marketing in healthcare