At this point, it doesn’t really matter what your political views are on the Affordable Care Act; this week’s Supreme Court ruling lifts any uncertainty about the immediate future for healthcare in this country. The direction is now set, and everyone involved in the industry has to move forward.
That also makes it an opportune time – for those who haven’t already done so – to reconsider the benefits of social media and healthcare. We have blogged about this already, bringing you some recent survey information showing more hospitals are indeed prescribing regular doses of Facebook and Twitter for educating patients. And we’ve chatted with a doctor and mommy blogger who has sung the praises of social media.
But now one of the biggest news stories of the year gives those in the healthcare industry a chance to get closer to customers – whether they are payors, patients or companies in the healthcare business-to-business chain:
* Insurance Companies – This industry impacted the most by this week’s ruling should get busy on blogs and social networks educating customers about what the ACA will mean for premiums. If these companies have an opinion on ACA, that’s fine; a strong point-of-view is a good thing in a blog post. But never forget about the customers. Their priority is answers. They deserve up-to-date, accurate information.
* Hospitals/Clinics/Private Physicians – Speaking of accurate information…those served by this group are already conducting more research online regarding health issues, consumer reviews of doctors, etc. There is more power in current and prospective patients’ hands than ever. Social media allows for a two-way connection via doctor/hospital blogs and social media platforms. Healthcare providers should seize upon that opportunity to talk about the ACA’s impact on the quality of healthcare and what’s ahead after 2014.
* B2B Providers – There was a reason that the business-related cable networks were keeping a close eye on the stocks of publicly-traded companies that sell within the healthcare space: software businesses, medical device manufacturers, etc. Vendors and current/potential partners need the latest information on ACA’s impact, just like those in the physician/patient chain.
From a social media marketing prospective, original content with strong, organic search engine optimization can push these businesses to the top of Google search results – especially when it’s all tied to current events.
Granted, the healthcare industry comes with its own set of regulatory and compliance challenges. But that should never shut the door on social media usage within that industry. The Supreme Court’s ACA ruling offers a way to “use the news,” with a potentially positive side effect: stronger trust and credibility.