More and more adult Internet users are searching for healthcare related information than ever before.
According to IdeaWorks, “The percentage of adults who go online has remained steady at 79 percent, but more of them are looking at health information than in previous years – 88 percent.” Following up on this report, Mashable states that:
“While more than 100,000 doctors are using closed social health networks like Sermo.com and publishing in peer-reviewed journals online, thousands of health professionals are now blogging, using Twitter, and connecting with patients on Facebook in very public ways. So much so that this November, for the first time, the American Medical Association released a set of guidelines to direct physicians communicating and engaging with patients via social media.”
These trends call for the health care industry to focus on previously untapped resources: shareable media. With more individuals searching for healthcare online, accessibility is going to increase – which is a precursor to competition. Professional presentation – websites that include virtual tours, podcasts, free downloadable content, and audio greetings – will become customer expectation: “as more doctors view social media as an extension of their professional reputation…they will treat their online interactions with the same care as they do in the offline world.”