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HealthBeat

Who’s using social media to network on health care topics? The young and healthy.

More than half of respondents in a survey last year said they would trust health information posted on social media by a hospital’s account. Doctors were the most trusted posters, with 61 percent of respondents saying they would trust their social-media advice, followed by nurses at 56 percent.

Only 37 percent said they’d trust information from a drug company via social media.

The most likely to share their own health information are what health care industry experts call “the young invincibles,” people ages 18-24 in good health. Nearly 90 percent of them say they’d engage in health activities or trust information found via social media.

Less than half – 45 percent – of individuals ages 45–64 would be likely to share.

One-third of consumers surveyed said they would be comfortable having their social media conversations monitored if that data could help them identify ways to improve their health or better coordinate care.

More than 75 percent of consumers surveyed would expect health care companies to respond within a day or less to appointment requests via social media, while nearly half would expect a response within a few hours.

Of those who said they were likely or very likely to share about a health care experience afterward, 44 percent said they’d share their positive reviews of hospitals; 40 percent said they’d share negative reviews.

The margin widens when the question is about a specific doctor, nurse or other provider: 42 percent said they’d share praise, and 35 percent said they’d share criticism.

This data is from a PricewaterhouseCooper survey of 1,060 people in April 2012.

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