The Importance of Social Media in Healthcare Communications

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One of the most significant challenges that healthcare professionals face is effectively communicating important information to our audiences. People now consume information in a busier media environment than ever before. The question is: how can healthcare communications cut through the noise of television, email, ads and packed schedules? Our goal is to ensure that patients and community members are receiving information that can keep them healthy.

Meeting your Audience Where They Are

I believe that to be an effective communicator, it is vital to use the platforms preferred by your audience and to make it as easy as possible for them to receive information. Increasingly, that means using digital media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and video. Most people are already using them to connect with their friends and family and to consume news and entertainment. Why should we make them to take another step to visit a website or read an email to get the information they need?

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Communicating on social media helps me to connect with my audience. Most people are more likely to listen to a friend than a stranger. Sharing a glimpse into my work, interests and personal life helps me form relationships with those I might not have the opportunity to meet in person. I regularly share preventive health information to help people live well and make informed choices. I hope that our connection makes it more likely for people to take notice of this information and take an active role in their health.

Social Media and Crisis Communications

Healthcare communications becomes even more important when providers need to share crucial health information. For example, right now people are using social media to find news pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. We want our community to see accurate sources of information instead of listening to potentially dangerous misinformation. I try to earn the trust of my social media followers by offering useful content year-round. When the stakes are raised, they know they can turn to me and Renown Health for safe and accurate information.

I am proud of the relationships I’ve formed with my community, employees and colleagues on social media. These virtual tools help me build authentic connections and inspire people to join our efforts to create a healthier community.    

 

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Tony Slonim, M.D., DrPH, FACHE, is active on Twitter! We encourage you to visit his profile, follow and interact with him.

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