226932 Use of social media by hospitals in the US

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Samir Thaker, MPH , Lerner College of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
Ashley Edwards , Healthcare Innovation and Technology Lab, New York, NY
Amy Nowacki, PhD , Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
Neil B. Mehta, MD , Medicine Institute, Education Institute, and Information Technology Division, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
Background: Use of social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) has surged in popularity among organizations in a range of industries. Little is known about how commonly such tools are employed in health care.

Objectives: Assess the prevalence, types, and functions of social media use by hospitals in the United States.

Methods: We drew a stratified random sample of 1,800 hospitals from the 6,436 institutions in the American Hospital Association's 2008 Annual Survey Database. We identified websites of hospitals in our sample and conducted structured reviews of these sites for evidence of social media use. Each website was reviewed by two individuals and discrepancies adjudicated by a third reviewer. We determined the proportion of hospitals that used social media. We also examined the function of social media on the hospital websites and the relationship between social media use and institutional characteristics.

Results: Preliminary analysis indicates that 94% of hospitals sampled have publicly accessible websites, 21% of these include social media, and 16% feature social media on their homepage. Among popular social media tools, Facebook appears most commonly on hospital websites. Analysis of social media use by function and relationship to institutional characteristics is forthcoming.

Discussion/Conclusions: Despite the relative infancy of social media as a tool for communication, our research reveals that a substantial number of hospitals use these tools for a variety of purposes. Future research into patient preferences, usage trends over time, and the institutional policies surrounding social media use may help healthcare institutions better leverage these tools.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics

Learning Objectives:
1. Assess the prevalence of social media use in U.S. healthcare 2. Describe the ways hospitals employ social media tools 3. Discuss why social media is relevant to public health

Keywords: Social Marketing, Communication Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I designed, conducted, and analyzed the research study of social media use in hospitals described in the submitted abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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