Users of hospital's social media seek health info

Seventy-one percent of social media users on the hospital's Facebook page, Twitter handle and blog are using the technology to seek information on personal health, according to a survey by Summa Health System in Ohio. 

The health system distributed the Internet survey to its users and found that 29 percent of them were using social media to seek family health information, and 27 percent were looking for hospital programming, Summa Health said in an announcement last week.

The survey revealed some demographic information of its social media users too. An overwhelming 96 percent of them were female and 94 percent were Caucasian, compared to the hospital patient database that reports 68 percent as Caucasian. More of the social media users also had higher education, with 60 percent having a bachelor degree or higher, compared to only 12 percent with a high school degree or lower.

Even with this information in hand about who is using the hospital system's social media and how, hospitals still must be cautious. The Federation of State Medical Boards issued new guidelines on ethics for physicians, including HIPAA concerns and online professionalism.

For more information:
- see the Summa announcement
- here's Summa's Facebook, Twitter and its social media policy

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