Social media has had a major impact on individuals and businesses around the world. People use social media to gain information, share opinions, and discuss their experiences. Healthcare is one of many areas that has taken advantage of social media. The impact social media is having on global healthcare is transforming the way doctors and healthcare systems deliver different healthcare options to their patients.

Many providers are taking advantage of social media as a way to market and communicate with other healthcare professionals as well as current and prospective patients. Social media allows them to publish recent research, educate consumers on things going on in healthcare, attract prospective and current patients to their website, post case information with outcomes and setbacks, share patient reviews and testimonials, market services and solutions to healthcare companies, provide patient support, and offer healthcare advice to different end users.

Social media also allows doctors to manage their reputations which is an essential part of marketing practices. By getting involved online, practices can help control what patients see. It allows them to market themselves while focusing on their attributes and consumer commitments. Doctors can also use social media to educate their patients on new procedures and services.

Physicians and other healthcare professionals have the advantage of providing up-to-date information on new research, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals. Social media gives them the opportunity to track public opinion on topics that are relevant in the media or in the general area of their practice. The information they acquire can then be shared on their website and other social media channels they employ.

While the change in the way social media is being employed has occurred because of new applications and technology, it has also occurred because of a generational shift in scheduling appointments with doctors. Not everyone is seeking traditional in-person visits. Some are, instead, seeking on-demand advice and support from healthcare providers. A doctor active on social media may be able to respond and provide some preliminary guidance when a question arises. Not everything requires a trip to the doctor’s office, so being able to offer support digitally has the potential to help with minor issues or concerns.

Social media will continue to evolve and healthcare professionals will need to continue to change the ways they use social media to market themselves and their practices, as well as engage with the general public.