Social media helps healthcare providers in time of tragedy

Social media helps healthcare providers in time of tragedy

By Erin Crowley on May 2nd, 2013

Two weeks have passed since 260 people were injured and 3 passed as a result of the Boston Marathon bombing. More than 11 area hospitals opened their doors, their trauma centers, their burn units and I can imagine their hallways to the victims, family members, coworkers and friends. Teams of physicians, nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, tech teams, volunteers and more joined together to assist and care for the wounded.

Like in any disaster, the patients and their treatment came first, but in today’s society, the hospitals were expected to provide information to the media and the general population in a quick, timely and accurate manner.

Social media has proved time and time again as a beneficial tool to organizations both in healthcare and outside of healthcare to update the public during day-to-day happenings and current events. We could all learn a thing or two from some of the organizations that used social media during and after the chaos of the bombings.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital (@MassGeneralNews) used Twitter to update followers on patient counts and conditions and provided details on upcoming blood drives. Using social media to broadcast important information was not only an inexpensive choice, it was a great use of an easily assessable resource. The advantages of social media for companies can be endless when used properly.
  • Tufts Medical Center (@TuftsMedicalCtr) used social media to announce an evacuation of their Emergency Department and the status of a suspicious package on their campus. Updating their social media accounts regularly allowed their audience to remain informed of the latest news. Keeping an audience up-to-date on information is something everyone can and will appreciate.
  • Boston Children’s Hospital (@BostonChildrens) was able to use their Twitter account to provide information to concerned parents on how to help children understand and cope with tragic events. Combining a very relevant topic with your company’s expertise can be a great way to engage your audience and showcase your companies attributes.

Millions of corporations, organizations and people went to Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIn on that sad Monday afternoon looking for answers, requesting and providing updates and outwardly expressing their regrets. The Boston bombings brought bands of people to sites, pages and profiles that never expected the traffic, the follow, the “like”, the connection or the attention, but many were ready and equipped with a plan to keep the public informed.  Social media has the changed the way the public looks for information, are you and your company ready to embrace the change?