Social Media in European Hospitals: A Descriptive Study

Tom H. Van De Belt* Sivera A.a. Berben, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Tom H. Van De Belt*, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Lucien J.l.p.g. Engelen, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Lisette Schoonhoven, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, Netherlands

Track: Research
Presentation Topic: Participatory health care
Presentation Type: Oral presentation
Submission Type: Single Presentation

Building: LKSC Conference Center Stanford
Room: Lower Auditorium 130
Date: 2011-09-17 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Last modified: 2011-08-12

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Internet and Social Media are an important part of daily life. Social media (SoMe) like Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook, improve communication and patient participation in health care. Patients and professionals use SoMe for multiple disease related forms of communication. An American initiative showed that many hospitals in the USA are using SoMe. However, it is unknown whether hospitals in Western Europe use SoMe, and which types of SoMe they are using. The objective of this study is to explore SoMe usage by hospitals in Western Europe.
A descriptive study was performed to explore SoMe usage by hospitals in the following thirteen European countries: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland and Austria. We included hospitals with at least 200 beds. Between April 2009 and July 2011, three measurements were performed for each hospital. During these measurements, we visited the hospital website and searched for the use of SoMe with a standardized method and checklist. The usage of the following six types of SoMe were examined: the use of YouTube accounts or other video channels and number of views, Twitter account and number of followers, Facebook account and number of friends, LinkedIn account and the number of connections. Finally, we examined whether the hospitals used weblogs and RSS-feeds. The outcomes of the third measurement are currently being analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results (preliminary, based on the initial two measurements)
1998 hospitals were included in the study. The number of hospitals per country that used SoMe ranged from 7 (Luxembourg) to 741 hospitals (Germany). The first measurement showed that: - five type of SoMe were used in two countries, i.e., The Netherlands and United Kingdom; - three types of SoMe were used in one country, i.e., Germany; - two types of SoMe were used in four countries, i.e., Denmark, France, Luxembourg and Sweden; - one type of SoMe was used in four countries, i.e. Spain, Norway, Austria and Belgium; - no type of SoMe was used in two countries, i.e., Ireland and Switzerland. The second measurement demonstrated an increase in the number of hospitals that used SoMe. Furthermore, the number of different types of SoMe that were respectively used increased as well. Differences within countries and between countries will be presented at the Medicine 2.0 Congress in Stanford. At that time, the results of the third measurement will also be available.
Our preliminary results showed that Hospitals in Europe use Social Media. We found remarkable differences between countries as well as an increased use of SoMe during the study period. During the Medicine 2.0 Congress, we will launch an interactive website with the results of this study.

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