Social media plays a role in patient's choice of hospital

By Molly Merrill
09:52 AM

According to a recent survey, social media influenced nearly 40 percent of hospital or urgent care center patients.

The Spring 2009 Ad-ology Media Influence on Consumer Choice survey found that 53 percent of patients between the ages of 25 and 34 years old were the most influenced by social media.

The survey is conducted throughout the year by Ad-ology Research to study online, traditional and social media influences on buying decisions. Ad-ology Research surveyed an online consumer panel of 1,213 adults from January 5-8, 2009.

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According to the survey, 30 percent of hospital visits by patients between the ages of 25-34 years old were maternity-related. Social media outlets such as forums and discussion boards had a "significant" influence on 20 percent of this age group who recently made a visit for maternity reasons. The research suggests hospitals should target this group with an online space where these parents-to-be can interact.

"Progressive hospitals are already participating in social media through specific micro-sites, social networking, online communities and targeted online marketing," said C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research. "Urgent care and maternity provide excellent opportunities to connect with younger consumers, and social media is the way to engage this group."

Other key findings of the survey included:

  • Women accounted for approximately 60 percent of those who researched family doctors online.
  • Hospital/urgent care Web sites had the most influence on 18-to-24-year old patients (53.8 percent)
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