By Evgeniya Jung

If somebody told me just some years ago that hospitals would soon be using social media as a means to advertising their services and communicating with potential patients, I would be pretty surprised. However, big social media platforms deservedly earned their popularity in the healthcare sector due to their effectiveness in connecting those who provide healthcare services with those who are searching for them.  It is true that in many countries hospitals still don’t view powerful social platforms like Twitter or Facebook as a communication tool between a potential patient and a hospital. But the fact remains: In many countries it has proven to be effective and lucrative for hospitals to use social platforms, also due to significant changes to the health insurance system in Switzerland over the years and the need for hospitals to prove their function as an economic enterprise, using the structure of Swiss Diagnosis Related Groups, the Swiss version of a fee-per-case system.

But not only hospitals can use social media to their advantage.  Patients can also benefit from the use of social platforms in order to convey their wishes to those, whose services they might be using later. Being a frequent guest in hospitals due to diabetes and gaining deep understanding through my experience about how medical insurance, health centres and hospitals work, I took interest in the subject of hospitals’ involvement on social media. I am going to analyse the use of social platforms by some hospitals in Switzerland in order to show what catches an eye of a patient and what she or he expects from a hospital to publish on its page.

Sharing experience, seeking advice

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First of all, it is very important for a patient to be engaged in conversations with other people, especially with those who face the same difficulties with health. Sharing experience and seeking advice is an important part of the interaction between patients and doctors or other patients, who went through the same troubles. This kind of interaction on social media can be encouraged by letting patients speak on camera about their experience through an interview (for sure, if the patient himself agrees to share his story) or letting them leave reviews and comments on social platforms.  It is also advisable to let patients speak openly about their experience at the hospital, no matter if good or bad. I found it very nice that hospitals like the Universitätsspital Zürich or the Klinik Hirslanden are answering politely on Facebook to all kinds of comments from their patients and trying to solve conflicts with all possible means. It helps show people that their opinion matters and that measures are undertaken to improve the level of satisfaction with the services.

Information and trust

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The second thing that is greatly appreciated by patients is the publication of educative videos and articles on the page of a hospital. I have found loads of informative articles on diverse health problems on the pages of different Swiss hospitals. However, the quality of content varies greatly. The best work done so far in this direction is the videos from the Klinik Hirslanden on YouTube. Their videos are very informative, helpful and comprehensible. It is essential to remember that most patients don’t have medical education and they shouldn’t get a feeling like they don’t understand what they are reading or watching. The information has to be easily interpreted and put in simple words so that even children can understand it. In this way hospitals can make connections between patients, create a friendly and caring atmosphere and build credibility and trust.

Concern and care

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Another important thing that patients value greatly when it comes to relationship between hospitals and patients is the demonstration of concern and care for other people. One of the ways to show on social media that your team at the hospital is not indifferent to the suffering of others is by posting news about different humanitarian campaigns and encouraging those who are interested and want to help to take an active part in volunteering work. I found it touching, when I discovered a link on the Facebook page of the Stadtspital Waid in Zürich to a project that a group of doctors organized in order to help establish basics for accident surgery in Tanzania. The Stadtspital Waid reported about their trip and the work the doctors are doing there. It is a great way to show support for the people who have no access to good medical care and social media can help build awareness and sympathy.

Since social media platforms are gaining popularity not only among private internet users, but also in business, it is only left to say that every hospital that wants to ensure its further success and development needs to consider being active on social platforms. Many hospitals in Switzerland are moving in the right direction, providing all the information needed for the patients about the hospital itself and its services. It allows building a bridge between a patient and a hospital, because communication is the very first and most important step in promoting mutual cooperation and trust between the two parties.

Are you a hospital or another institution in the healthcare system? Do you want to raise the attention of your stakeholders and improve communications to (potential) patients, medical doctors etc.? Then we might be able to help you.
Yes, I want to learn more about social media in healthcare

Sind sie für ein Spital oder eine andere Institution im Gesundheitswesen tätig? Wollen Sie die Kommunikation mit Ihren Stakeholdern wie (potentiellen) Patienten, Ärzten und Mitarbeitenden verbessern? Gerne helfen wir Ihnen dabei.
Informieren Sie sich bei uns über Social Media im Gesundheitswesen

(Services are available in German and English / Unsere Dienstleistung sind in Deutsch und Englisch verfügbar)

Picture sources:

https://radiantmarketingaz.com/6-dos-donts-healthcare-social-media-marketing/

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141123074833-37618139-social-media-in-healthcare

http://blogs.aspect.com/improving-customer-engagement-in-healthcare-organizations/

The HEALTHINAR workshop day “Digital Healthcare” on 18 September 2015 was packed with inspirational input and interesting discussions. Even though it is hard to pick the highlights we have chosen 8 astonishing insights which we would like to share with you:

We are living in a science fiction movie.

Whether it’s the tricoder from start trek, the miniature submarine from Fantastic Voyage or even cyborgs – what used to be the fantasy of science fiction authors is reality today.  Kamales Lardi used these allegories to take us into the fast evolving world of medical technology and digital transformation. And the pace which with technology is moving today is getting even faster. So just imagine what kinds of developments we are looking forward to.

A heart is a heart is a heart. Or is it?

Think about the image of a heart. What do you see? An icon, an illustration or a photo? In her engaging workshop, Esther Stüdli used this example to create awareness for the professional use and variety of visual communication elements. The exercise also sharpened the participants’ perception of which level of abstraction might be appropriate for a certain message or target group.

Image by Esther Stüdli

The experience of waiting goes way beyond counting minutes.

Social time and mechanically measured time are two different concepts. When improving the waiting situation, e.g. in a hospital, it is important to take both aspects into consideration. Beatrice Kaufmann is part of the interdisciplinary research group “Health Care Communication Design” at Bern University of the Arts (HKB). She shared some of the amazing insights from the project “Waiting Times”, an experiment which was conducted as a holistic intervention, taking into account visual, acoustic, tactile and olfactory elements. It resulted in a measurable effect of the influence of artistic redesign of interior spaces on the individual experience of waiting.

Sitting is the new smoking.

A truly shocking fact presented by Manuel Heuer, coo at dacadoo, is that more people die because of too less exercise (mostly from cardiovascular diseases) than from the consequences of smoking. There are estimations that 65% of health care costs in Europe could be avoided by a change of behavior.

Social Media is a lot more than a marketing channel.

While marketing is an obvious choice for the use of social media channels, there are numerous other ways and objectives to utilize these platforms. Social media is pretty much any “conversation that people have online” – as Kamales Lardi explained to the audience.

socialmedia

Co-working is the future.

Thomas Kupferschmied showed in his introduction how digitalisation has changed our society, the way we work and how we communicate with each other. Working independently from time and space provides new freedom and the easy exchange with colleagues and clients can simplify processes. The discussion among participants showed that this vision is already reality for many and that the right tools and strategies to manage a digital work environment will become even more relevant in the future.

Software companies rule the world.

The world’s biggest library? Amazon. The world’s biggest taxi service? Uber. The world’s biggest marketing company? Google.  Manuel Heuer used these examples to demonstrate how far digitization has already influenced various industries and our everyday life. He claims that it is only a matter of time until this kind of digital revolution also sweeps over the healthcare sector in Switzerland. So grab the opportunity, become part of the change and shape the future!

Kupfi is now on WhatsApp.

It came as a shock to many but it really is true: Thomas Kupferschmied is now on WhatsApp! To see which other apps, programs and channels he uses to stay in touch with people and to organize his digital work environment, have a look at the last pages of his slides.

Participants of the workshop can download or request the slides of all speakers here.

And what where your highlights of our workshop day? Or what should be a topic at a next HEALTHINAR event?

Last but of course not least, we are proud to present to you our 4th speaker at the next HEALTHINAR-event: Renate Good, Head of Corporate Communications, at Hospital Bülach, near Zurich in Switzerland.
A few years ago, Renate wrote a paper about social media and hospitals, titled “Wie viel Social Media braucht ein Spital? Quantifizierung der Social Media-Nutzung Amerikanischer, Deutscher und Schweizer Spitäler“, where she took a look at the social media use of diverse American, German and Swiss hospitals. Her conclusion, back then in 2011, was that it was unclear if and how much social media a hospital was needed. There were very few examples of institutions that used this new communication channels. However, Renates Goods prediction was that with an increasing competition and therefore more competitive pressure between hospitals, the need for more customer or patient loyalty would also rise. In terms of that social media would be taken into further consideration for a communication strategy in hospitals. If we look at the situation today this has mostly become true. With SwissDRG (Swiss fee-per-case system) there’s more competition, especially between private and public hospitals in Switzerland and also quite a few institutions are using various social media channels.
So it’s most interesting that the Hospital Bülach, where Renate Good works, is still not present on these channels. We are looking forward to Renates presentation and a lively discussion, thanks for participating!

More about the Hospital Bülach: http://www.spitalbuelach.ch

More about Renate Good:  http://www.spitalbuelach.ch/index.php?id=1652

We are proud to announce that the Social Media Manager from the UniversityHospital Zurich in Switzerland will be one of the four speakers at our first showcase about hospitals and social media. The hospital exists since 1204 and is today one of the largest hospitals in the country including exceptional academic research. It consists of 43 departments and institutes and provides medical support to 39’000 inpatients every year.
Their social media campaign has been long awaited and was finally released in April 2015. So we are very excited to see their extensive campaign expanding and have Andrea Heiniger speaking on behalf of the USZ as a social media newcomer at our event.Thank you!

andrea_heiniger

More about the UniversityHospital Zurich:
USZ
More about the social media campaign of the USZ:
http://blog.usz.ch/willkommen-in-den-social-media/Blog
Twitter: Twitter
For more information on HEALTHINAR follow this blog or visit us on
Twitter: https://twitter.com/healthinar

The next speaker at our first showcase on the 11th June 2015 about hospitals and social media will be Patrick Jola, Communications Officer at the Forel Clinic, near Winterthur in Switzerland. Treating addictions and abuse of alcohol, medication and smoking, the Forel Clinic has established a center of competence for addiction disordners in Switzerland.

So this makes it even more special that they have launched a well-thought marketing and social media campaign. It’s appealing but still with respect to the delicate topic.

Thank you, Patrick, for participating!

patrick_jola

More information about the Forel Clinic: https://www.forel-klinik.ch/

Check their social media campaign: https://www.facebook.com/Forelklinik

More information about Patrick Jola: https://www.forel-klinik.ch/mediencorner/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/patrickjola

For more information on HEALTHINAR follow us on Twitter: @healthinar

Yes, there are more guidelines to follow than that if a hospital wants to use social media channels. But we consider these 5 the most important once you get started.

  • Be nice: Don’t just try to sell. Your (potential) customers  might also be (potential) patients. Consider that and show some real interest in people and their stories. If that’s true for you, your statements will always come across truthfully.
  • Be visual: People love vivid pictures and clear visuals and don’t forget: “One picture is worth ten thousand words”. Don’t save on the quality there. Anything else will just look rather sleazy and unprofessional. Which brings us the next point:
  • Be professional: Try to avoid as many mistakes as you can. We’re talking about orthography, a logical structure and appropriate pictures.
  • Be quick: React promptly and continuative on user comments, no matter if it’s praise or objection.
  • Take ownership: Request immediate ownership for automatically created profiles in the (sometimes even wrongly spelled) name of your hospital on different channels like Facebook, Linkedin etc. Get rid of the false information and bad pictures any user could have added. Like that, everybody can see that you’re taking care of the social media presence.

Last but not least: Don’t forget the personal contact, It means even though you have started using social media for the hospital, keep in mind that personal contact can not only expand but also deepen your (digital) network.

One of the speakers at our first showcase on 11.6.2015 will be Stefan Lienhard, project leader social media at the the famous Hirslanden Private Hospital Group. As one of the first hospitals in Switzerland, Hirslanden has realised an extensive social media strategy. Being hugely  successful with that, they won two marketing awards in 2013.

We are thrilled to have Stefan at our first event about hospitals and social media, thank you!

stefan_lienhard

More information on Stefan Lienhard: http://bit.ly/1D559I2

More about Hirslanden Private Hospital Group: http://www.hirslanden.ch/global/en/home.html

Stefan Lienhard Twitter: @lienu

For more information follow us on Twitter: @healthinar