In 2011, more than 80 percent of adults report using the internet as a resource for healthcare decisions. Based on these trends, many health system websites have begun to include tools and information for patients and visitor s that make navigating complex health encounters more user friendly and that create a positive organizational image (Ward, Huerta, & Schilhavy, 2012).
Social media has become so useful to the healthcare sector that organizations such as Mayo Clinic have actually developed departments dedicated solely to utilizing social media. The goals of the Mayo Clinic center for social media are:
The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media exists to improve health globally by accelerating effective application of social media tools throughout Mayo Clinic and spurring broader and deeper engagement in social media by hospitals, medical professionals and patients. (Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media).
The facts of social media are also hard to ignore, it is being utilized in healthcare more than most people might think. Here are the statistics on the usage of social media within the health field:
As of 2010 there were 540 hospitals actively using a variety of social media tools, including:
• 247 YouTube Channels
• 316 Facebook pages
• 419 Twitter accounts
• 67 Blogs (Beach-Thielst, 2010)