Hospitals are using social media, like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, for advertising to patients

Traditionally conservative hospitals are opening up on social media platforms.

For those who follow this blog, or are on Twitter, you’ll probably notice that more and more medical institutions are having a Web 2.0 presence. Facebook groups, Twitter, blogs, or YouTube webcasts, for instance. Indeed, there’s even reports of academic centers using Facebook to recruit for difficult to fill clinical trials.

A recent article in The NY Times outlines the phenomenon, and they interestingly note that hospitals were dragged kicking and screaming into the social media fray, perhaps by the uber-competitive nature of attracting patients.

So, although live-Tweets of medical procedures provide a level of transparency that was previously unheard of, and patients can receive a faster response to their concerns, it’s more likely that hospitals are using social media more to gain a marketing edge on their competitors, rather than for the patient’s welfare.

But since much of American medicine is a business anyways, is that really a surprise?