Study Highlights Social Media’s Influence in Greater Adoption of Reform Law

June 15, 2011
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Social media is taking on another meaning entirely in the world of healthcare, specifically with respect to the patient-as-consumer demographic. As we inch closer to the complete institution of the reform law (PPACA) — barring any attempt to repeal any or all of the legislation — questions about its real world implications continue to present challenges for suppliers of health care (systems, providers, insurers).

Social media is taking on another meaning entirely in the world of healthcare, specifically with respect to the patient-as-consumer demographic. As we inch closer to the complete institution of the reform law (PPACA) — barring any attempt to repeal any or all of the legislation — questions about its real world implications continue to present challenges for suppliers of health care (systems, providers, insurers).

Patients with a strong interest in navigating the path of the legislation’s numerous provisions could be getting help in the form of social media mechanisms. This is apparently demonstrated in research from the University of Utah which shows social marketing tools are crucial to the success of health care providers in their efforts to help consumers navigate the PPACA.

The paper highlights some of the potential challenges consumers face as a result of initiatives implemented in response to the PPACA and suggests ways health care providers, policy makers and health care marketers can best prepare consumers to meet them. After examining three consumer barriers – understanding, decision-making, and maintenance of healthy behaviors – Scammon advocates that social marketing is the best way to segment health consumers and then identify the specific challenges faced by each segment.

If the premise of this study is that breaking down information barriers to create a clear understanding of the law benefits conusmers and creates more efficient healthcare delivery overall, then its realization will only occur at the hands of an administration willing to continue to use social media as a constuctive, not divisive, force in making this brave new world of healthcare delivery work for everyone. Of course, just how well this aspect of social media is implemented into to the rollout of the ACA will depend on what 2012 brings to the White House. | PDF LINK here

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