NEW YORK, Feb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A new nationwide study by Verasoni AhHa! and Simon Associates Management Consultants of how hospitals across the United States use Facebook suggests that hospitals are not using Facebook to its capacity to engage patients, build healthcare communities or develop their hospital brands.
Only a few hospitals across the United States are utilizing social media to connect with patients, improve the health status of the community and extend their brand, and these hospitals are doing it very well. The majority is not, the study indicates. "It appears that hospitals either have yet to grasp the role of Facebook with respect to connecting with patients, or have not yet invested in the medium to be able to use it as a viable marketing communications and healthcare or community development tool," said Dr. Andrea Simon, President of Simon Associates Management Consultants and co-author of this study.
The study looks at various types of relevant Facebook activities and tactics for 120 hospitals of various sizes and affiliations across the United States. The study includes an analysis of the size of network, frequency and types of posts, and the use of the integration tools available on Facebook, among other measures. "While the numbers clearly indicate that patients are on Facebook, it is the job of hospitals to find them, and engage them in a meaningful way. And, just because a hospital is on Facebook doesn't mean that they are building a meaningful Facebook experience for both the hospital and the patient," said Abe Kasbo, CEO of Verasoni Worldwide, co-author of the study.
On hospital pages where there is a high degree of interaction between the hospital and members, the study found that patients, family members, friends and members of the community used the hospital's Facebook presence to share experiences, laud, connect, and recommend hospital services, and in some cases praise certain physicians.
Children's hospitals appear to be clear leaders in the use of Facebook. Children's hospitals in this study have Facebook mass, meaning that the hospitals studied seemed to be very engaged in Facebook. Their networks—the number of people on their pages—are larger than most hospitals in the study and their activities appear to be more robust, engaging, and relevant.
Additional highlights from the study include:
- Only 8 of 120 hospitals (6%) had more than 10,000 fans
- Less than 40% of hospitals posted daily, those who posted on a daily basis had many more encounters with current and prospective patients as well as caregivers
- Less than 50% used Facebook's event calendar to promote health or hospital events
- 80% of hospitals did not use Facebook's discussion board, while those hospitals who did were rewarded with a high degree of engagement, adulation and recommendations from members
- 76 hospitals (63%) had no unsolicited feedback or questions on their pages. 38 hospital Facebook pages (32%) included unsolicited feedback from their Facebook members
Please visit http://verasoni.com/ahha2/2216/ to view the entire study including, implications, methodology and data.
Simon Associates Management Consultants, founded by Andrea J. Simon PhD, brings the perspective of corporate anthropology to help companies and non-profit institutions change by rethinking their brand positioning, redesigning their organization's culture, and improving their financial performance through innovative and effective new approaches to product development and marketing. The firm assists companies understand how customers really see, feel, and think about a company's products, services, and customer experience. To learn more, please visit www.simonassociates.net.
With offices in New York and New Jersey, Verasoni Worldwide is a fiercely independent marketing and public relations firm serving clients across various sectors such as healthcare, financial services, government, and hospitality, throughout the United States. For more information please visit: http://www.verasoni.com.
SOURCE Verasoni Worldwide