The transformative power of social media is evident across all areas of our lives. Healthcare has significantly benefited from it, albeit in some instances the tool has proven deadly. The reality remains that one cannot look at the advantages of social media and forgo the bad, but it comes down to leveraging it for the greater good. Below we shall explore the benefits social media has brought to healthcare with regards to helping the public.
Lack of knowledge has led many people to suffer unnecessarily. An easy example is how to remain healthy during flu season. A brain injury lawyer Vancouver expat may hold on to a belief that they have to catch flu from their family members and indeed ends up getting one. The reality is once can put some measures in place and not get it altogether. It is therefore not about a person’s social status. Social media raises awareness and equips us with information we did not otherwise have.
There are times when social media has stepped in to dismantle problematic beliefs and replace them with factual information. Immunization has been a contended topic along with homeopathic systems. With the use of social media, institutions can provide science-based material and leave the public to make informed decisions. Another aspect where the tool has proven to be an ally is when rumors that cause panic get spread. To avoid hysteria among populations, health care professionals can now get ahead of propaganda.
News breaks on Twitter and other platforms before it reaches news website and channels. Healthcare institutions know this and use it to reach masses. In the case of a health crisis such as opioid addiction or mental health, social media acts as the go-to tool to get breaking news out. Even during a big disaster when there is an appeal for donations, organizations such as the WHO and other non-profit organizations will use social media to rally support and resources.
Public engagement and monitoring
Another area where social media has been a tremendous ally to healthcare is in data collection. Hashtags help medical practitioners gauge what the public is experiencing. Depression, flu, drug abuse and the like now get monitors through the use of analytical tools to establish what is currently in the public consciousness. With the awareness, institutions can now engage with the public to get more information or to provide information to help them combat whatever they are going through. The barrier between patient and doctor are removed, and everyone can move forward from a place of knowledge.