Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog, Forum, YouTube. There is no escaping it. Though critics have been outright about the negative effects of social media such as privacy and the effects on interpersonal relationships, it does not look these applications are going anywhere any time soon. Businesses are constantly finding new ways and methods to utilize social media to their advantage. But why do they find it so helpful?
Though I have just recently joined sites such as LinkedIn and more recently started writing blogs, I have found multiple benefits. I read an article in the Journal of Medical Internet Research that discussed these same advantages.
1) Interactions at your fingertips
This is maybe the most beneficial aspect of social media that I have experienced. Most healthcare professionals can be very traditional. They prefer to meet in the workplace, through a mutual colleague, or at seminars. Though this is a very important part of networking, face to face interactions take time and a huge amount of effort. Through social media, you can connect and interact with twice the amount of professionals you would have had time to do in person. You are able to learn about their background, find out their personal interests, and contact them all in one place. Though I admit, I do prefer personal meetings, I cannot deny how efficient social media can be. If you have a strategic plan, interactions that take place in the social media setting can grow exponentially.
2) Shared and available specific information
Healthcare is constantly changing so it is important for us to always be on top of new regulations, technologies, and research. Social media such as blogs, forums, micro blogs, and discussion boards allow for us to interact with each other and share information. You can instantly learn about new trends in your fields and filter out news that may not pertain to you. I personally use social media daily to learn more about what I can do to make my agency more efficient. I have found so many other professionals who were ready and willing to share their best practices about my specific industry.
3) Easy access to healthcare information
Lastly, information is literally everywhere. Now that multiple applications exist, it is so easy to find the education you are looking for. You can search through news feeds, ask a question in a forum, post on a discussion board, or search through blogs. There are multiple sites that are ready to give you information on all aspects of healthcare to help you areas such as compliance, process, and performance improvement.
These are just some of the benefits I have seen and I am continuing to find more. But you will not be able to see these benefits unless you plan strategically. Find the best forms of social media and plan out how your agency can maximize its benefits.
What other benefits do you see in social media?
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