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Healthcare organizations lag in social media activity, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Social media open many new opportunities for healthcare organizations to engage consumers and are changing the nature of healthcare interaction, according to a new report by PwC’s Health Research Institute.

The report, "Social media likes healthcare: From marketing to social business," called social media activity by hospitals, health insurers and drug companies "minuscule" and found that while 8-in-10 healthcare companies had a social media presence, health-related community sites had 24 times more social media activity than corporate sites, noting that the finding held significant implications for businesses looking to capitalize on social media opportunities.

"Health organizations have an opportunity to use social media as a way to better listen, participate in discussions and engage with consumers in ways that extend their interaction beyond a clinical encounter," PwC U.S. health industries leader Kelly Barnes said. "Savvy adopters are viewing social media as a business strategy, not just a marketing tool."

In addition, the study found that one-third of consumers use social media sites for seeking medical information, tracking and sharing symptoms, and sharing their thoughts about doctors, treatments and health plans. Meanwhile, between 20% and 40% had used social media to find health-related consumer reviews and information about other patients’ experiences, or had posted information about their experiences or joined a health forum or community. Forty-five percent said information found through social media would affect their decision to get a second opinion, while 41% said it would affect their choice of a specific doctor or treatment center; 34% said it would affect their decision about taking a certain medication, and 32% said it would affect their choice of a health insurance plan. Overall, more than 80% of consumers between 18 and 24 years said they were likely to share health information through social media channels, while 90% said they would trust information found there, compared with 45% of those between 45 and 64 years who said they would share health information.

The report includes data from a recent Health Research Institute social media survey of more than 1,000 consumers in the United States; 124 members of the eHealth Initiative, a health information and technology organization comprising various industry organizations; interviews with more than 30 industry executives; and a survey of the social media activity of several hospitals, insurers, drug companies and patient communities.


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Tidy Cats kicks off ‘No More PU’ campaign

BY Allison Cerra

ST. LOUIS — Tidy Cats has launched a new campaign to support its latest cat litter formula.

The "No More PU" campaign is designed to show how new Tidy Cats Scoop formulas with new Odor Erasers technology offer cat owners reliable odor control. The campaign launched in New York this week to assist with stinky situations in the lives of Big Apple residents. Along with its PU Patrol — a two member PU-erasing team — Tidy Cats is embarking on a multiple city tour aimed at surprising people with creative solutions to life’s "PU," the company said.

"Tidy Cats is excited to come to the rescue and solve some of life’s stinkiest situations," Tidy Cats senior brand manager Rebecca Schulz said. "Tidy Cats Odor Erasers helps with the PU in your litter box and home, and we’re excited for the PU Patrol to travel across America and help with the PU in people’s lives."

Tidy Cats Scoop formula with Odor Erasers technology comes in two varieties, including 24/7 Performance and Instant Action.

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OfficeMax vet assumes reigns of Walgreens’ supply chain management

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday named Reuben Slone as SVP supply chain management, where he will have leadership responsibility for distribution, transportation, systems integration and engineering, Lean and Six Sigma supply chain initiatives, and community outreach.

Slone will join Walgreens May 16 and will report to Walgreens president of community management Mark Wagner.

"Reuben has deep experience in leading supply chain operations, improving service and efficiency and driving innovation in the management of inventory from distribution centers to the stores," Wagner said.

Slone comes to Walgreens from OfficeMax, where he served as EVP supply chain and general manager of services. In his eight years with OfficeMax, he was responsible for inventory management, transportation and warehousing, strategic sourcing, real estate, store development, facilities, print and copy, business-to-business technology, managed print services and break room and facilities maintenance products businesses. In addition, Slone managed front-end inventory at OfficeMax and oversaw supplier development. Prior to joining OfficeMax, Slone held various executive positions with Whirlpool, General Motors, Federal-Mogul, EDS and Ernst & Young.

Slone also serves as secretary of the board of directors of Aspire of Illinois, a nonprofit organization serving children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Slone takes over supply chain management responsibility from Randy Lewis, who is transitioning to a new role with the company. Lewis will continue to help advise on the company’s programs for people with disabilities and will play a critical role in several of Walgreens key strategic initiatives.

"Randy has been and continues to be a valued leader at Walgreens," Wagner said. "He has led the supply chain organization for 16 years with integrity, innovation and compassion. We are pleased that we will continue to benefit from his experience as we extend our ground-breaking hiring program for people with disabilities. Randy also will assist with Reuben’s transition and other strategic initiatives that take advantage of his 20 years with Walgreens."

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