Abstract Chapter 11

The chapter aims at investigating managerial implications that social media use has on healthcare organizations. When are they used? For which purpose? What type of dynamics are induced inside and outside the organizations? These questions were at the basis of an online survey targeting Italian healthcare organizations and of two case studies (AUSL di Modena e ASL di BT). The final research goal was to identify which are the social media more used among healthcare organizations, the main strategies and targets of social media activities, how this function is structured (in terms of staffing and organizational design), how social media use has been introduced and what is the potential in the near future. The analysis confirmed that healthcare organizations (with different adoption rates) are beginning to introduce social media in their communication strategies, but not in a structured way. Most organizations have a page or profile on Facebook (65% of respondents) or on YouTube and LinkedIn. However, only in a small number of cases they have a function dedicated to social media communication. The lack of an organized approach is backed by the limited use of analytics tools and performance analysis. The few exceptions (for instance the two case studies) involve in their organizations young professionals with a background focused on communications skills (but who also have knowledge of the peculiarities of healthcare sector). Social media in healthcare organizations serve the goal of sharing information about topics related to health and wellbeing or about services provided, having the citizens as main target. The huge potential of social media is thus still to be explored in Healthcare, presenting the chance to use new ways of accompanying the transformations happening in the sector, reaching new targets, involving new professionals and promoting trust.

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