How many of you out there in the public use Twitter? According to an article in For The Record “How Tweet It Is”, 13% of the online population uses Twitter. So what does that mean to the public in relation to healthcare and information technology? That means that you can get online via Twitter and follow your local hospital, access disease related Tweets for information, and its all free. Yes, free.
Organizations large and small have, for the most part, realized the value of Twitter. Individuals are beginning to realize that not only can they follow their favorite celebrity, keep up with their friends, and share their daily experiences, they can also find more information on those topics relevant to their own health and where to get the care that they need. I actually follow some hospitals, health care industry topics and individuals that are significant contributors to HIT (healthcare information technology).
Since I am a Texan, I’ll go with the Lone Star State statistics. According to Ed Bennett, in Texas alone (as of 10/9/11) there are 259 “uses” of social media and 45 of those are Twitter. In the article from For The Record, Lisa Eramo interviews Jennifer Texada from MD Anderson Cancer Center. Jennifer shared with her their approach to using Twitter for the patients – targeting patients and diseases. The approach she talks about went from a marketing targeted design to a disease centric design. This allows patients to follow those Tweets that are relevant to them.
The other component of Twitter are the chats. I have social media friends that use these chats to interact with their blog followers and provide an interview component to their topics allowing a group to participate real-time. So it seems that this is a truly interactive use of technology that engages the patients and the providers and doesn’t act solely as a marketing tool.
Do you use Twitter to follow your neighborhood health systems, hospitals, physicians or support groups for disease? Tell me about it!