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More people turning to social media for health advice

facebook-iconAccording to a recent study, more than a third of Americans are now turning to Facebook for health advice. So what does this mean for health organisations and medical providers?

There’s so much information available online about medical conditions, from professional health organisations to blogs about personal experiences, so it can be hard to figure out where to turn if you’ve got a problem that needs resolving or just need a bit of advice.

Well now, according to a study recently published over on cnet, more than a third of US adults are turning to the likes of Facebook and Twitter to get information about medical conditions, symptoms, treatment and prescriptions because they find it easier and more trustworthy than any other sources.

The research, commissioned by PricewaterhouseCoopers, polled more than 1,000 adults and found that 41% of them said the advice of their networks would affect their choice of hospital, 34% said it would affect their choice of medication and 32% admitted to being influenced by people they know when it comes to the kind of health insurance they take out too.

As you’d expect young people are much more inclined to take advice from the likes of Facebook and Twitter, with 80% of 18 to 24 year olds being influenced by their social networks as apposed to only half of those aged between 45 and 65.

It makes sense that people would turn to social media for more personal advice from people they know. Many brands and businesses are now switching onto the idea that social networks are great places for recommendations, and the same can be said for healthcare and medical advice because it’s easy to talk with people you know and most importantly you can trust your sources.

This research proves that healthcare organisations and medical providers need to better understand the social media space so they can show they’re present if any users need a professional opinion. However, the challenge will be to not overwhelm people with advice, but just show they’re active and available to listen.

[Via cnet]

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