As a parent (of three), I recognize that you can learn from children. But today, I’ll write about how we can learn from pediatric hospitals. The current issue of Healthcare Executive has an article by a hospital leader on ways adult hospitals can learn from pediatric hospitals. His second strategy addresses patients learning from and comforting one an other — and presents social media as one tool. I’d like to suggest that pediatric hospitals are leaders in use of social media as evidence by the ease of me finding, and the quality of, examples during the research period for my book. Just look at my list of best practices and you can see for yourself the strong showing by children’s hospitals. If you don’t believe me, then consider the suggestion of an article on Facebook use among hospitals. The referenced study found that, in general, hospitals are not fully taking advantage of Facebook. But, children’s hospitals appear to be the clear leaders in the use of Facebook. This isn’t a surprise to me when we consider that youth were the early heavy users of Facebook and children’s hospitals have been simply connecting where their target audience is already communicating. To the study authors, I say that the reason adult facilities are lagging behind pediatric hospitals is due to a variety of reasons, including:
- So many other pressing matters/competing interests
- Fears related to reputation management
- committing resources to social media
However, older adult use of Facebook is the fastest growing age segment and once adult hospitals realize this, their attention will turn to connecting with their target audience(s) on Facebook. Sit tight…the tipping point is coming!