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Social Platforms – A Remedy for Patient Apathy Part 1 on Inside Healthcare

Published on October 1, 2012    by Jock Putney on Inside Healthcare Blog

As providers scramble to address the rapidly changing healthcare landscape, they are increasingly turning to technology for solutions. Industry experts expect that healthcare IT spending will triple by 2014 , becoming a top priority as a way to increase quality of care and manage costs. For instance, many healthcare organizations are adopting electronic medical records solutions to enhance information exchange.

But when it comes to solving the need for enhanced patient engagement, many healthcare executives are left scratching their heads. Countless organizations are struggling to identify a way to integrate technology to benefit patient outcomes. A powerful solution to consider is a provider-led social network. According to a new survey by PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI), hospitals, insurers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers can benefit from this new form of interactive communication . By leveraging a secure, private social platform, healthcare providers can easily enhance patient engagement and reduce costs.

It’s understandable that healthcare executives may be wary of social networks. Facebook and Twitter come immediately to mind, leaving many to think only of publicly shared, often frivolous, information. And these open networks are certainly not the answer. Privacy and security issues abound. For instance, when a user publishes information on Facebook, this content can be accessed and used by anyone and becomes the property of Facebook. And even innocuous applications can infiltrate user profiles and harvest information. These platforms just don’t allow users to control or protect their information. Additionally, today’s social networks are often too complex for effective patient engagement. Featuring cluttered UIs full of distracting ads and unrelated information, these sites aren’t built for meaningful and focused interactions.

While there are perceived barriers to the adoption of social platforms for the healthcare industry, these powerful solutions should not be overlooked. In fact, a provider-led platform featuring secure, private protocols can be just the solution healthcare providers are searching for. Especially considering that many consumers are already relying on social media for health-related issues. Research shows that 61 percent of adults in the United States have used the Internet to search for health or medical information and 49 percent have accessed a website that provides information about a specific medical condition or problem.

Please check back tomorrow, Oct. 3 for part II of this series.

Article written by Jock Putney, CEO of WellFX and Published on October 1, 2012    by Jamie Morgan on Inside Healthcare Blog