The importance of patient engagement and the use of Social Media marketing in healthcare
Article type: Research Article
Authors: Koumpouros, Yiannisa; * | Toulias, Thomas L.a | Koumpouros, Nicholasb
Affiliations: [a] Department of Informatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece | [b] Department of Neurosurgery, Spirito Santo Hospital, Pescara, Italy
Correspondence: [*] Corresponding author: Yiannis Koumpouros, Department of Informatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Ag. Spyridonos, Aigaleo 12243, Athens, Greece. Tel.: +30 6944254112; E-mail:[email protected]
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The present research aims to identify the application of social media for marketing or communication purposes in healthcare. We studied the opinion of healthcare professionals, organizations and health consumers, trying to identify the current status, trends and beliefs. The research reveals that healthcare organizations have to move forward and engage with their customers. The health consumers are more mature than the health providers. The descriptive characteristics of the sample's responses collected during the survey are presented. OBJECTIVE: The current research tries to identify the application of social media for marketing or communication purposes in healthcare in Greece. The scope of the paper is to investigate the status in Greece and compare it with other countries. METHODS: We studied the opinion of healthcare professionals, organizations and health consumers, trying to identify the current status, trends and beliefs. We formed adequate questionnaires which were distributed to the different target groups, while for statistical analysis we performed tests (in order to investigate the dependence between certain respondents' categories) as well as one-way ANOVA analysis for inference purposes. In this context, the results can depict the (average) behavior, as well as the homogeneity of the corresponding general population. RESULTS: The research conducted took into account the individualities of the Greek environment and revealed that both physicians and healthcare organizations have to move forward in order to engage with their customers. There is also a clear need to measure the effectiveness of any such media marketing effort. Most adopters are not yet-taking maximum advantage of the technology. Social networks are prevalent and several paradigms support their adoption for marketing purposes in the sensitive healthcare domain. Even though the expectations are ambitious, there is a lot of work to do in Greece in order to achieve the desired outcome. An important finding is that patients' attitudes are, in general, differentiated from those of healthcare professionals. Even though the results of the present paper can be generalized, according to the statistical analysis performed, further research would be warranted to cover all possible participants in the healthcare chain. It is clear that both physicians and healthcare organizations have to adopt social media marketing in their daily practice in order to meet the needs of their customers. The present paper advances the current state of knowledge, as there is not any prior study on this field in Greece.
Keywords: Social media, marketing, health, Greece, social networks, social networking
Journal: Technology and Health Care, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 495-507, 2015