Internet users are increasingly turning to social media platforms for health-related issues. Ironically, Click Vision, a digital marketing agency, identified that many companies in the health care sector have not yet recognized the potential of these communication channels. Almost every age group now uses the Internet to find out about health issues and special therapies as a result of a survey conducted.

Social Media: Only Young Users Communicate Openly About Their Health

Depending on age, more information is currently being transferred via social media than an exchange of experiences: So far, only the younger users of such offers are willing to report about themselves or to post information, evaluations, and advice.

As a rule, the personal concern is the decisive reason for exchanging views on health topics via social media: For 53 percent of those surveyed (61 percent of whom were women), their own illness or an illness in their immediate vicinity was the decisive factor, in online encyclopedias, in forums or research on Facebook. 39 percent also did so out of dissatisfaction with other information offerings.

Health Care Professionals: Preferred People To Provide Medical Advice In Social Media

For most Internet users, social media is already one of the established communication channels. In general, doctors, clinics, psychotherapists, and other medical service providers are the preferred people and institutions for online exchange on health topics (54 percent). Those surveyed rate the ease of use and the diversity of opinions as particularly positive compared to conventional information channels. More than a third of those surveyed appreciate the opportunity to talk directly to other people and, above all, to institutions – an opportunity which, according to the study, has only been used by 47 percent of all German companies in the healthcare sector.

For example, 40 percent of statutory health insurance companies still ignore this trend. It is clear from the survey that the insured also expects to be able to talk to experts on social networks. Almost every second person between the ages of 30 and 44 would also like to communicate with their health insurance company via Facebook and Twitter. For 14 to 17-year-olds, that’s already 62 percent. Fast responses to inquiries and up-to-date information on new offers are the most commonly mentioned expectations. The big advantage from the user’s point of view is the interactive orientation of the communication.

Clinics are Gradually Picking Up on the Trend

Hospitals are also generally reluctant to use social media, as a second study shows. According to estimates, of the more than 2,000 hospitals in Germany, only about 270 clinics have a Facebook page, 160 provide information about news via Twitter, and 150 present themselves on Xing. The Frankfurt agency FuP Marketing und Kommunikation, together with the Hessian Hospital Society and the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, examined the situation in Hesse*. The managing directors of 41 Hessian hospitals took part in the survey (24.1 percent). 56 percent of the hospitals that answered the questionnaire do not plan to be involved in a social network. About a fifth of the hospitals are already active, and almost a quarter intend to follow shortly.

Of the active houses, 63 percent have a Facebook presence or are planning one, 22 percent tweet, and eleven percent use Xing. 44 percent of those surveyed use social media portals to inform themselves, 56 percent do not. Seven percent of those questioned believe that such portals will not prevail, 27 percent are convinced of the opposite, and 66 percent do not yet have an opinion on this.

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Anyone who uses social networks does so primarily for marketing reasons, to recruit staff, or to provide patient information. Referrer loyalty or complaint management, on the other hand, does not play a significant role. Among the houses that do not yet use social media, skepticism predominates because the effort may be too high compared to the benefit. There are also concerns about negative representations of one’s own hospital on the Internet and in relation to data protection.