A study titled Do Patients “Like” Good Care? Measuring Quality via Facebook revealed that the number of likes on a hospital’s Facebook page are a good indicator of patient satisfaction and low mortality rate.
Many medical practices, hospitals and other health care organizations have resisted entering the social space even though millions of people use Facebook and other social media tools to search for hospitals, healthcare and medical information online. Currently about half of the US hospitals do not have a Facebook page at all. The study found that:
“An even stronger relationship was found for mortality. Each percentage point of a decrease in a hospital’s 30-day mortality rate corresponded with that hospital’s page having an average of 93 more Facebook likes.”
This is an eye-opening statistic and considering the upcoming legislation that puts more emphasis on quality of care. Social media, then, is likely to become a benchmark for recognizing a top-notch medical organization. Now that patients are “living online,” this gives medical organizations the opportunity to connect directly with the millions of people who use the internet.
“Facebook has emerged as an important tool for hospitals to use to communicate with their communities. Hospitals, public health researchers and health care consumers could use social media as an additional source of information on topics related to patient satisfaction and hospital quality to complement traditional data sources.”
Most hospitals regularly provide patient satisfaction surveys to their patients. However, it takes an extra amount of effort to go to look up a Facebook page and become affiliated with a brand. As a result of this study, hospitals may want to seriously reconsider aversion to embracing Facebook as a socially branded presence that can provided an added level of customer service and support.