Increased use of social media to build brand value

Hospitals and health systems have stepped up their use of social media—but not to enhance patient treatment or outcomes. Rather, they are using it to build their brands, reveals a new study from the CSC Global Institute for Emerging Healthcare Practices.

CSC surveyed 36 U.S. hospitals and health systems and found that while more than two-thirds have adopted some form of social media, 70% say their main priority is brand recognition. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are by far the most popular social media tools because most consumers already use them. Less emphasis is placed on building new communities on their own blogs.

No organization reports a negative experience with social media. Overall, 64% of organizations rate it as positive, with another 18% calling it neutral. Most of the remaining respondents felt it was too early to tell.

Action to take: We agree with the study on where to take this effort: “The next step for hospitals and health systems will be to use social media more strategically. The risk and cost of doing so is relatively small, yet the upside includes potentially substantial performance improvements and the realization of sizable competitive advantages.” One way is to use social media to connect patients to providers and let them know about product development, says the study.