Journal Article Studies Preference of Social Media Professionals for Healthcare Communications

YouTube preferred over Flickr, Facebook and LinkedIn rated equal.

CIH_shadow_RGBSan Diego - The FDA may not be sure about the use of social media in healthcare communications, but the professionals within the space report they're ready to move forward. Today the Journal of Communication in Healthcare published a research study that measured the attitude of healthcare, pharmaceutical, and life sciences executives on the use of social media, aiming to correct the lack of a fair and balanced discussion of the risks and benefits of using social media in healthcare communications. Survey respondents hold positions from CEO to CIO, from Marketing Director to Brand Manager, are active in their positions, and serve primarily the United States. When asked about whether or not marketers should be permitted to use social media to promote their products and services to the public, most were positive.
Kevin Popovic, CEO and Founder of Ideahaus

Kevin Popovic

Kevin Popovic, Founder & CEO of Ideahaus, co-author of the paper elaborated, saying, “We’ve worked with every type of business for more than twenty years. As new types of communications have evolved, most types of business have kept pace – in general – except healthcare. Our clients have debated over the use of social media in healthcare communication from manufacturers, consumers and regulatory bodies, and much of that debate stems from a lack of guidelines from the FDA.” “There is no question that the FDA’s lack of leadership in providing guidelines has limited the broad adoption of social media,” Chauncey Smith, Senior Director of Client Engagement for Klick Health and paper co-author, added. “Can these media be abused as a promotional communication channel by not being fair and balanced? Absolutely. But could social media become a force for positive change in healthcare? We think so, which is why we should continue exploring this topic.”
Chauncey Smith

Chauncey Smith

Popovic and Smith continue to believe that social media should be embraced as an integral part of any healthcare communication plan, and see signs that this is occurring with greater scale and frequency, but there is clear evidence that the lack of regulatory guidance has hindered the adoption of social media by healthcare communications professionals. This research project is a follow-up to the Popovic and Smith 2010 publication in the Journal of Communication in Healthcare (Vol. 3, No. 2) ‘Tweeting @DoctorWelby: Practical Examples of Social Media in Healthcare.’ Due to the ongoing controversy of social media use in healthcare communications, Popovic and Smith are continuing their research and request that interested participants connect with Popovic and Smith via LinkedIn. The article abstract:
Social media has become a mainstay of communication between business-to-business and business-to-consumer endeavors. However, lacking is a fair and balanced discussion of the risks and benefits of utilization and implementation, in particular, within healthcare communications. Our research objective is to assess current attitudes of healthcare, pharmaceutical, and life sciences executives on the topic. We conducted an online survey with 107 people from varying positions and perspectives within these industries. From CEO to CIO, from Marketing Director to Brand Manager, respondents are active in their positions, serve primarily in the United States, and provide diversity to our sample. When asked about whether or not marketers should be permitted to use social media to promote their products and services to the public, most were positive.
haus-article-iconRead the full version of ‘Attitudes on the Use of Social Media in Healthcare Communications’ in the Ideahaus Professional Community, or download the article at the Journal of Communications in Healthcare website.

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Comments (2)

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  1. One of the most interesting findings was the preference of YouTube over Flickr. On the surface we could say there was a preference for video (moving pictures) over (still) pictures, which is interesting to me since I’ve seen pictures have a consistently higher engagement rate in day-to-day social media.

    We could also discuss the culture between the two social media sites – could that impact preferences? Possibly, but one could argue that YouTube has a visible culture, where IMHO Flickr has functionality.

  2. It is encouraging to see the use of social media opening up, a little bit, among pharmaceutical and healthcare marketers. Although anxiety and fear of making a compliance misstep, marketers are no longer avoiding the channel. This shift benefits patients, caregivers and healthcare practicioners.

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