Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Battle Between Social Media and the Health Care Community

Healthcare and Social Mediaphoto by j.reed

Since the launch of HealthCareerWeb a few months back, I have been digging and searching to find the gap that exists between Social Media and health care recruiting. In my quest I ran across Phil Bauman, a Social Media advocate who is also a Registered Nurse. This is 1 piece of a 3-part discussion we had about Social Media and the Healthcare industry. The other 2 parts can be found at the Tampa JobSpot and the Employment Guide Spot Blog.

Social Media and Health Care Not Social Media vs Health Care

Even though blogging and social media are beginning to integrate into mainstream corporate culture, health care has a few more rules to play by. Ever heard of a thing called client confidentiality? Privacy is a key concern of patients and even the staff. In a presentation I gave regarding Social Media and Job Hunting I gave an example of a dentist that holds a Myspace page where he posts pictures of himself smoking cigarettes and drinking alcoholic beverages. If his patients found out, what would the consequences be?

Here are the points that Paul gave us as to barriers that Healthcare has when faced with going online and being active in Social Conversations:

  • Healthcare companies are heavily focused on administering the day-to-day operations of providing healthcare to patients. The healthcare industry's use of technology tends to be focused on products used to diagnose and treat patients. The idea of using social media to communicate with patients, patient family members, employees probably either doesn't occur to administrators or they don't see the value of investing in social communities.
  • Regulatory pressures also play a part. Companies that are regulated by federal and state laws may be reluctant to open up themselves out of fear for what regulatory authorities might make of what transpires in an online social community.
  • Patient confidentiality is another consideration healthcare companies are concerned about. It's a barrier that can be overcome but it needs special handling. HIPAA (The Health Insurance and Portability & Accountability Act is a serious regulation and one that companies are obligated to comply with.
  • Lack of Awareness. Healthcare workers are very smart people. But perhaps because hospitals run 24/7, it may be hard for them to keep up-to-date with the latest Web advances. When you work in a facility there isn't much chance to interact online.
  • ROI - Business aim to justify any asset. Calculating the ROI of a blog, for instance, can be difficult. What healthcare companies need to realize is that patients and family members who have bad experiences will tell their friends and they will increasingly blog stumbleupon, Digg,, Consumerist, and use whatever online medium to voice their complaints. Health care companies need to understand that getting over the barriers to online social communities is a way to establish a web presence so that their customers interact with them to solve problem s.

In the Health Care industry, it is not going to be as simple as throwing up a WordPress template and going at it. With the time crunch and labor shortage in this industry, time is of the essence. Allowing major players to go online and be a part of conversations is time consuming, yet it can prove to be beneficial to both the recruitment process and also the well being of the institution. Adding a private support system, as Mr. Bauman states on his site can deliver huge potential and also a sense of trust before, during and after a surgery, procedure or check up.

In the other 2 sections of this series we look at how Job Boards and other 3rd party sites can get the Health Care community involved as well as the tools that are presently available to health care staff to stay up to date on job openings, industry news and other work related topics.

Check them out by clicking on one of the links below. We encourage you to comment and voice your opinions on this and any article here on the Orlando JobSpot.

Tampa JobSpot

Employment Guide JobSpot

-Greg Rollett


  © Blogger template 'External' by 2008

Back to TOP