While privacy continues to be a concern, a new survey has found that one-third of U.S. adults use social media to discuss health issues.
But it’s not a simple matter of liking pages on Facebook, tagging or stumbling upon items. People are using social media in myriad ways that are important for hospitals, physicians and all healthcare stakeholders to understand.
Here are a few key takeaways from the PricewaterhouseCoopers report released recently:
- 42 percent of consumers have used social media to access reviews of treatments or physicians.
- 25 percent have posted about their health experience.
- More (61 percent) consumers trust their healthcare provider and41 percent will interact with them via social media while fewer (37 percent) trust information from a drug company and even fewer people (28 percent) are inclined to share information with drug firms. The sharing and the trusting come more easily to younger consumers (18 to 24) compared with baby boomers (45 to 64).
- One-third of consumers surveyed would allow monitoring of their social media conversations if data could be gleaned to improve their health or better coordinate care.
- More than 75 percent of consumers surveyed would expect healthcare companies to respondwithin 24 hours or fewer to requests for appointments via social media. And nearly half are more demanding, expecting a response within a few hours.
- Consumers are also using social media to make decisions about seeking care with 45 percent saying that information found via social media would have an impact on their decisions to get a second opinion.
- Another 40 percent reported that information gleaned from social media would affect the way they manage their chronic conditions or how they look at diet and exercise.
Meanwhile, as consumers make use of social media in droves, healthcare organizations lag far behind.
- Eight in 10 companies surveyed had a presence on social media, but the volume of posts and comments were in the hundreds compared with the thousands coming from consumers
- Two out of three health providers and insures allow individuals to post on their Facebook walls, but fewer than one in three allow the same in the pharmaceutical world.
PricewaterhouseCoopers surveyed 1,060 U.S. adults for the report.To read the full report, go here.