Social and mobile continue to converge in healthcare

I’ve been somewhat off the grid for yet another family health crisis lately, but I thought I’d at least surface to update this blog with something quick and easy. Healthcare Web and software designer Geonetric has recently come out with an infographic about how healthcare consumers engage online. It’s long been believed that the majority of Internet users will search online for health information, and Geonetric cites data showing that some 80 percent actually do so.

The real surprising numbers are in the realms of social media and mobility, two areas that are increasingly overlapping. While it’s not shocking to hear that 20 percent of health consumers use mobile devices to search for health information, take a look at how many people now have mobile phones: an estimated 4.8 billion worldwide, according to Geonetric. By comparison, the chart says only 4.2 billion people own toothbrushes.

And despite all the worries in the provider community that patient will write bad things about them on rating sites like Yelp, Geonetric says just 5 percent of mentions of companies and organizations on social media are negative. It’s not clear if that figure pertains only to healthcare, but if you’ve ever seen what so many trolls post as comments on YouTube, Facebook and news sites across the Internet, you might find that hard to believe. I sure did.

Note also that the graphic says 23 percent of people follow health experiences of friends on social media. That I believe, because I’ve been sending out updates to friends and family the last several days on Facebook, and I’ve gotten updates the same way for a friend in another state who has multiple sclerosis. I’ve written most of the updates from my phone.