Book Review: Social Media in HealthCare by Christina Thielst

January 27, 2012
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Social Media in HealthCare by Christina Thielst is a well-organized, complete yet concise, guidebook on the use of social media in healthcare organizations.  This book is an excellent source for any healthcare professional or provider.  It is helpful for social media novices, with an excellent glossary and basic information on how to get started with social media.  It also contains great tips for the more advanced social media user, with advice on SEO, widgets, video, and other web tools.

Social Media in HealthCare by Christina Thielst is a well-organized, complete yet concise, guidebook on the use of social media in healthcare organizations.  This book is an excellent source for any healthcare professional or provider.  It is helpful for social media novices, with an excellent glossary and basic information on how to get started with social media.  It also contains great tips for the more advanced social media user, with advice on SEO, widgets, video, and other web tools.

Christina’s long career in hospital administration and other healthcare settings make her an extremely knowledgeable and qualified author.  She has also had her own weblog, Christina’s Considerations since 2005 and is continually incorporating new social media tools and technologies.

Social Media in HealthCare opens with basic explanations and definitions of web 1.0 vs web 2.0 and explains why social media is important to the healthcare provider.  “In today’s competitive environment, it isn’t enough just to have a web presence.  Instead, healthcare organizations need to have online visibility”.  Christina uses statistics on social media usage to show growth in this sector over the past few years.  She then goes on to explain, “The use of these and other social media tools and the relevance of content have been noted by the search engines, which now include social media sites on the first page of results”.

The chapter on Overcoming Barriers and Risks includes sections on Privacy and Security and Legal Risks.  Advice is given on risk prevention and social media policy making.  Christina cautions social media users to be aware of the risks, but closes on the idea that “Healthcare leaders find that it is better to be proactive, address the barriers, and find creative ways to manage the challenges of these new communication tools….The sooner you are engaged and appropriately responding, the better”.

The author then goes on to talk about blogging, including help in getting started blogging and tips for current bloggers.  She then provides information on microblogging, podcasts, wikis, social networking sites, photo and video sharing, widgets and other web tools, each time giving great getting started information as well as tips for current users.

The final chapters of the book are concerned with helping the reader create a social media plan for the healthcare organization and a look into the future of social media.  Suggestions are given in bullet point format for easy reading and reference.

This book is an excellent reference guide to social media use for any healthcare professional or provider.  The language is easy to understand and the format is well-organized and well-presented.  It can be used by the novice or more advanced user.  It would be a worthwhile addition to any hospital library and/or social media department.

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