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Increasing Health Literacy Through Patient Education and Empowerment

For many healthcare associations and their related foundations, their mission often includes educating the public around specific diseases, risks, behaviors, treatments and options and encouraging patient engagement in positive actions. McKnight Kurland partners with many organizations to develop and disseminate the latest information to communities at risk. We use print and digital channels, social media, strategic partnerships and traditional outlets and many combinations of them. The first challenge we encounter is often to make statistical data meaningful and actionable to individuals across the education and language spectrum. Through infographics, videos, print collateral, social campaigns and more, our work serves to present the content developed by our client experts in a captivating way.

Referral MD recently provided ‘30 Facts & Statistics On Social Media And Healthcare’ drilling down a bit into numbers behind trends in social and its use among healthcare providers, influencers and the public. Here are the first 7 and you can read the entire list here.

1. 42% of individuals viewing health information on social media look at health-related consumer reviews. (Source PWC)

Takeaway:  Audiences are seeking collective knowledge when it comes to their health related decision making. Having multiple voices who can relate to a similar situation, or who have experienced similar circumstances, will always garner greater persuasion than that of a single brand.

2. 32% of US users post about their friends and family’s health experiences on social media. (Source PWC)

Takeaway: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google, or even SnapChat have become the modern day blog forums for folks to vent about their loved ones’ healthcare stories and/or struggles. For healthcare brands and startups, there’s huge potential in connecting with these caregivers and patients.

3. 29% of patients viewing health information through social media are viewing other patients’ experiences with their disease. (Source PWC)

Takeaway: Patients want the most reliable information possible from their physicians/doctors, but want to familiarize themselves with others experiencing the same obstacles and concerns. Connecting with others suffering from the same disease(s) gives patients a basis on how things could go—regardless if it’s for better or for worse. 

4. Of all the individuals viewing healthcare information on social media, 24% are viewing health-related videos/images posted by patients. (Source PWC)

Takeaway: Straight from the source on a visual scale that is both irrefutable and incredibly compelling. Patients that post videos or images from a relatable stance tend to generate far more engagement as opposed to normal text only posts.

5. 74% of internet users engage on social media. 80% of those internet users are specifically looking for health information, and nearly half are searching for information about a specific doctor or heal th professional. (Source PewResearch)

Takeaway: Millions of people globally are using social media actively on a daily basis, and a great deal are wading through vast amounts of “social noise” looking for treatment options, disease groups, patient/doctor insights, and more.

6. Information on social media can have a direct influence on patients’ decisions to seek a second opinion or choose a specific provider, particularly for people who are coping with a chronic condition or managing their diet, exercise or stress. (Source PWC)

Takeaway: Patient and caregivers will always seek out second opinions; searching the web helps them to discover via social media (or the internet in general) potential alternatives to diagnoses and/or treatments they otherwise wouldn’t know about.

7. Some of the most engaged and active audiences on social media are individuals coping with a disability or chronic condition, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and people who have recently experienced a medical emergency. (Source PewResearch)

Takeaway: People who have undergone or are coping with a disability or chronic condition want their voices heard. They want to share their personal insights, that could potentially help another patient who is struggling. They don’t just care—they want to make a real difference and pay it forward.

For a recent engagement with the CHEST Foundation, we developed a series of social media teasers that link to specific information on biopsy types and methods. The full campaign also included an informative microsite that answered through infographics the most common questions individuals have. View the case study.

As increasing health literacy becomes a more important objective for associations and societies, prioritizing patient empowerment through marketing and communications takes a front seat. Talk to us about how we can help!