You Have the Power
A friend and I just returned from Las Vegas where we were faculty at the National Forum for Healthcare Strategists. We were there to present on the growing importance of social media in the healthcare industry. We were there to remind senior executives that the most powerful voice in their industry is no longer theirs. It’s now yours.
We were there to remind them that the Internet has surpassed physicians as the number one source for healthcare information. Let me say that again. The Internet has surpassed physicians as the number one source for healthcare information.
We told them the reasons healthcare consumers go to the Internet and it wasn’t exactly what they wanted to hear. 83% go to research other consumer’s opinions on doctors and hospitals. 17% go to get emotional support from other consumers. 14% go to share their knowledge with other consumers. Yes, the attraction is other consumers, not doctors. (HospitalImpact.org and Icrossing research)
The importance of these new digital relationships cannot be ignored. For better or for worse, the opinion of a stranger has, in many cases, become more important, more powerful, than the opinion of your doctor.
It’s a frightening reality that the healthcare industry is slow to fully embrace: the most powerful voice in healthcare now belongs to the patient. Ultimately, that’s a good thing because no one cares more about our well-being, our care, and our recovery that we do. The Internet has given us the tools and the information to take an active lead in managing our own care.
We talked to the healthcare strategists about social networking and consumer-generated content. We talked about new cutting edge social media tools like Twitter. What we talked the most about is the power of the patient voice and how best to use it to their benefit.
To do that, we simply lifted stories straight from the pages of Growing Bolder. They watched bits and pieces from Tony Handler, Wendy Chioji, Jackie Jones, Reuben McDonald, Meg Gaffney, Women Playing for Time and more. Heads nodded and smiled. Drawn in by the power of a good story, they got it. They got the moral of our story and the moral of every good Growing Bolder story: it’s never too late, anything is possible, belief is powerful and faith is essential. We didn’t teach them that, you did.
So what does the future hold for healthcare? Change will come slowly because the industry is not very nimble and is scared to death of transparency. What if someone says something bad about one of their doctors? That’s a tough one to swallow, let alone enable.
But change will come and there will be no turning back. The true healthcare leaders will move boldly into social media. They’ll learn that the best medicine is many times not prescribed by a doctor but delivered by a patient in the form of a good story or an encouraging word.
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