One-third of consumers are using Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to seek medical information, discuss symptoms and express their opinions about doctors, drugs and health insurers, according to a new report.
These latest results from PwC’s Health Research Institute underscore the need for healthcare providers and insurance companies to engage more with consumers online since they are increasingly making medical decisions based on the information they find there. The stakes are likely to grow as millions of younger consumers comfortable with social media enter the insurance market for the first time under the federal healthcare law.
“Those medical providers and payers who are able to use social media are likely to do better in the marketplace as consumers make these decisions,” said John Edwards, a director in PwC’s healthcare strategy and business intelligence practice. “But our research shows that consumers’ expectations continue to outpace the ability of providers and payers to deliver.”
In the survey of 1,060 people in February, 45% of consumers said information found through social media would affect their decision to get a second medical opinion and 34% said it would affect their decision about taking a specific medication.