Healthcare News & Insights

Infographic: Patients using social media for healthcare, but hospitals aren’t

In addition to researching information about their own health, people are turning to social networks to communicate with other patients, share their opinions and ask for advice. 

That’s the message in a new infographic from marketing website SparkReport.

One third of patients now use social networking sites to research health information, share and track symptoms, and discuss experiences with providers and health plans.

And unsurprisingly, the younger patients are, the more likely they are to use social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. For example, more than 80% of survey respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 are likely to share health information through social networks, and nearly 90% said they would trust the information they found on those sites.

However, seniors are also interested in using social media and other online tools, with more than half of respondents age 65 and over saying they would like to communicate with their doctor and manage their care using the Internet.

Patients of all ages are willing to trust the information they find on social networking sites, though they’re much more likely to trust data that comes from an official or familiar source compared with an unknown person. For example, just 25% of people say they would trust another patient they didn’t know, compared with 60% who would trust a doctor and 55% who would trust a hospital.

Fewer hospitals using social media

What it means for healthcare organizations: Patients are turning to social networks to gather information about conditions, providers and treatments, but many hospitals have yet to develop a social media presence.

Despite the increasing number of people turning to social networks for health-related activities, only 26% of hospitals currently participate in social media, according to SparkReport.

The most popular social networking sites when it comes to health-related activity: Facebook (used by 84% of providers with a social media presence), Twitter (64%) and YouTube (46%).

Only 12% of hospitals use blogs — however, blogs can be a good way to offer lengthier educational materials and help the organization’s website appear when people conduct web searches for specific conditions and treatments.

Healthcare organizations could better engage with current and potential patients creating blogs, as well as social networking profiles and pages — especially ones that allow people to communicate with each other and share experiences and opinions.

Here is SparkReport’s infographic:


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