Social media has proved itself to be a powerful tool in the world of healthcare — especially when it comes to PR. As the number of people using various social media platforms has risen sharply over the last decade, so too has social media’s ability to be an effective tool for PR agencies to spread their messages to reach a broad, varied, and engaged audience.
Understanding how healthcare PR agencies are utilizing social media can provide one with a deeper and clearer understanding of how healthcare is evolving in today’s increasingly digital world.
The Objective of Healthcare PR
Before understanding how healthcare PR agencies use social media for public health awareness, it’s first important to understand the objectives of healthcare PR. Typically, healthcare PR aims to effectively communicate a specific message to a specific audience in order to reach a certain outcome.
When it comes to public health awareness, healthcare PR agencies are typically trying to inform as many people as possible about various health-related topics, such as COVID 19, the negative effects of smoking, and the importance of exercise to live a healthy life.
The Importance of Public Health Awareness
Public health awareness is a vital part of keeping the public well-informed about healthy habits. As was seen during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s crucial for the public to be informed about various health threats that can result in injury or, in some disheartening cases, even death.
As such, public health awareness is an incredibly important aspect of the healthcare system and its ability to keep the public safe.
Social media has presented itself as an effective way for healthcare PR agencies to reach a broad range of people quickly and effectively. When it comes to spreading awareness about public health, it makes sense that social media has become a frequently used tool for PR campaigns in the healthcare space.
Today, the world of healthcare and the way patients receive care is evolving at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, it can be hard for the public to keep track of the initiatives that healthcare officials and institutions are taking to improve healthcare and the process of receiving treatment.
One area in which healthcare PR is currently attempting to spread awareness is around the concept of disease management. Disease management aims to integrate care for those with chronic illnesses to improve their quality of life while also reducing the costs surrounding treatments. Without widespread awareness, disease management may not be able to positively impact the lives of those who can benefit from the new practice.
For important information such as disease management, social media is an amazing tool to spread messages straight into the pockets and desktops of millions of people. Given the immediate nature of social media, healthcare PR agencies are now able to communicate information and ideas in real-time with the mere press of a button.
Criticisms of Social Media in Healthcare
Though social media has proved effective and beneficial in many ways in the healthcare space, some concerns have arisen pertaining to its possible negative consequences. For instance, while nurses have been able to communicate more efficiently as a result of social media, many are concerned that nurses using social media may put patient privacy at risk.
In worst-case scenario situations, wrongful uses of social media by healthcare professionals can even result in lawsuits that have the potential to cost healthcare institutions an exorbitant amount of money. As a result of these concerns, HIPPA has developed a number of guidelines surrounding the use of social media in healthcare.
Spreading Messages Effectively
Social media allows public health educators and officials to effectively disseminate important information to the public in a timely manner. When it comes to public health awareness, this tool has the power to quickly spread information to the public in real-time, potentially saving people’s lives.
Though some have been concerned over matters of privacy regarding the use of social media in healthcare, social media has ultimately proved itself to be a powerful tool for healthcare institutions to reach the public with potentially lifesaving messages.
HP Thoughts: Social media alone is not enough to help the health sector in winning the fight against COVID-19. Learn some strategies to complement social media — Help the Health Sector to Control Pandemic.