Healthcare IT managers should consider the benefits of social media

In today's business world, private healthcare providers should consider using social networking to drive businesses and retain customers

With so much to consider given the upcoming ICD-10 transition, electronic medical records software installations and other essential health IT processes, the managers of these departments at small healthcare facilities may feel like they don't have the time to engage in social media.

However, in today's business world, many private entities are already looking to harness the power of internet networking to drive business and retain customers. For example, a 2011 study by Buddy Media and Booze & Co. indicated that more than 80 percent of companies gear their social media channels toward marketing.

A January report from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) recently conducted a study into how hospitals incorporate this type of outreach into their health IT programs.

"I won't tell you that you have to join Facebook or set up a Twitter account, but your patients and staff are using these tools," ECRI Institute's director of risk management publications, Paul Anderson, said in a release. "Healthcare managers would be shortsighted not to consider both the risks and benefits that social media presents."

According to the ECRI report, many healthcare facilities are shying away from social media as they lack a definite plan that outlines who will manage these channels. As such, speaking with a health IT consultant and software provider may be the best option for these overworked professionals.

By finding ways to cut costs and outsource the hospital's social media management, facilities could uncover new methods of implementing this essential new communications tool without hurting their bottom line. For example, the purchase and integration of Medisoft medical billing software could free up the funds that are necessary for this type of forward-thinking investment.

Microwize Technology is a leading retailer of healthcare IT products, including electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Lytec, Allscripts and McKesson.

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