How Social Analytics Can Help Organizations Control and Engage Their Narrative

How social analytics helps debunk misinformation

As part of a regulated industry, healthcare organizations have historically shied away from social media. But that's changing.

In today’s digitally driven world, healthcare information can be accessed in seconds, anytime, anyplace – by users everywhere. The numbers are thought-provoking. A survey by Search Engine Watch says 90 percent of millennials trust the medical information that’s shared by others on their social media networks. Forty-one percent of respondents said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility, according to a SparkReport study. And a report by MediaBistro shows that more than 40 percent of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health.

People and patients are social media savvy—and they expect their providers to be just as adept. Whether consumers and patients are looking for providers, trying to self-diagnose, searching for wellness and prevention tips, or researching the latest in health news headlines, social media plays a key role in the dissemination of healthcare-related information. But in many cases, it’s misinformation.

Clearing up confusion

Social media is a two-way communication, and that means non-experts can share information just as rapidly, or more so, than healthcare experts. That’s problematic. When it comes to healthcare information, debunking misinformation is crucial. Social media analytics can play a role in keeping the facts straight.

Case in point: Spectrum Health, West Michigan’s largest healthcare provider. The organization needed a way to engage in real time with a community that includes more than 600,000 plan members and 22,500 employees.

According to Michael Yoder, Spectrum’s social media strategist, “So much information online can be inaccurate. At Spectrum Health, we have a responsibility to participate in the conversation that’s going on in social media and to provide validated, expert information to counter some of the misinformation that’s being shared.”

To do so, Spectrum Health turned to Dell Digital Business Services. Together, they added social media analytics, reporting and response capabilities—an equivalent to having an additional full-time analyst—to better monitor social conversations. Yoder says the services have proven invaluable, especially during spikes in volume triggered by headlines regarding disease outbreaks, vaccines or even activist issues.

Yoder estimates that social media reporting capabilities save his team at least 20 hours a week for other work – work that includes the launch of Instagram channels, sites that wouldn’t have been possible without the help of social media services. “We’re now more accessible and responsive to our customers than ever,” he said.

Start your social analytics programs now

How can your healthcare provider prevent misinformation from going viral? Proper social media initiatives are first and foremost. Find a way to listen and analyze social media conversations in real time, and respond quickly with pro-active messaging, because the longer it takes to respond and put accurate information out there, the more quickly social media can work against you.

Dell Services Spectrum Health Case StudyYou can read the entire Spectrum Health case study. For even more information, you can watch the webinar Leveraging Social Strategies to Help Put the 'Patient' in Patient Engagement. Learn more about how organizations are looking to Dell Digital Business Services to gain social media insights, hear conversations and keep their patients and community well informed.

About the Author: Raman Sapra