Medicine 2.0 Meets Ontario Hospitals: Why Hospitals Have Been Slow to Adopt Social Media
Keywords:health communication, social media, health literacy, fundraising, internet, hospital culture,
Eighty percent of Canadians are using the Internet and many are using social media. In the U.S. one in five consumers are using social media to access information about hospitals and it is influencing their decisions about where to seek care. Despite this growth, hospitals in Canada and the U.S. appear reluctant to join the conversation with just 27 and 21 per cent of hospitals respectively maintaining a social media presence despite mounting evidence that social media can increase health literacy, aid in fundraising, allow for patient self-care and facilitate research and educational opportunities. The barriers that are preventing hospitals from fully embracing social media include fear of the unknown, lack of established best practices, difficulties in determining return on investment and hospital culture and values barriers that are in conflict with social media culture and values.