Blogging, tweeting, updating a status message-these are all norms of today's social culture. Many individuals partake in these simple tasks, some more than others, but nevertheless, we are all engaged. As healthcare companies like HealthEd continue to grow in a media-enriched industry, blogs and message forums are becoming more prominent resources for patient research. Within the social media landscape, there are firsthand patient testimonials and raw data that we at HealthEd can use to better understand various aspects of the patient journey. As a result, our health educators are finding ways to bridge a connection between the medical and personal factors that make up each patient's personal treatment experience. Our ability to tap into social media for this kind of information directly enhances our goal at HealthEd to create and maintain a patient-centric learning approach.
A patient journey identifies key obstacles, treatment challenges, and other factors patients face during the life cycle of their care. A recent article I read in TIME magazine entitled Alzheimer's Unlocked provides one patient's perspective on the progress of Alzheimer's research. "The way I see it, even if you predict when I will get Alzheimer's, you haven't got anything that I can do for it." One of the biggest emotional challenges patients are faced with when diagnosed with Alzheimer's is the fact that doctors cannot offer them a cure. This clearly exposes the frustration and loss of hope felt among Alzheimer's patients as they currently fight a losing battle with their condition. At HealthEd, our unique team of Health Educators would analyze this insight and use it to represent a major obstacle in the patient journey specific to Alzheimer's treatment.
Although this quote was collected from a magazine article, there are thousands of patient insights similar to this in the social media landscape. Our social media mining indicates that patients are afraid of Alzheimer's and how its symptoms mercilessly prohibit them from performing "normal" cognitive functions, ultimately making them feel confused, frustrated, and alone. In my perspective, this could be reason enough for patients to use social media as a means for finding support, relief, and even answers. We do not have to rely on recent studies that identify Alzheimer's as an underfunded disease to understand the pain and frustration patients' endure as a result of minor treatment progress. All we have to do is sign in, search, and retrieve. The prognosis is that the patient insight is there, we just have to know where to find it and more so how to use it.
Being in the healthcare industry, it is important to realize how social media can directly impact our professional ambitions. For this, we at HealthEd must learn to embrace social media and the insights it has to offer. With the development of new and improved treatments in close combination with the open forum social media provides, I feel it would be in our best interest, not only as a company, but as human beings, to help our patients by simply listening to our patients.
Click here to read the full article from TIME.
Encore, a HealthEd company