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Healthcare and social media, a shared infographic

August 4, 2013


I’ve been blogging for slightly over a year now.  I started Ayrshirehealth ( on 1st June 2012, the initial plan was to gather a few colleagues together to share opinion, challenges and opportunities.  The opportunity to network has been outstanding, people willing to share their thoughts, people making comments on the blog, as well as a truly international readership.

On a few occasions I’ve been contacted by people asking to re-blog information as well as people asking to submit blogs to be posted.  infographic 1Recently however I was contacted by Aldo Baker regarding the infographic his team were promoting on social media and the healthcare industry – the offer allowed me to use the infographic on Ayrshirehealth blog.  With that blog being subscribed up until November we agreed to post it on my personal (this) site.

The infographic looks at healthcare and social media – who is using it, why they are using it.  It provides an interesting and useful insight, as well as a challenge to each of is to consider how we use social media, personally and professionally.

Infographics are an increasingly popular route to share information for magazines, websites and via social media.  They communicate information (frequently statistical) in an accessible way, which increases their utility for sharing via social media.  They appeal because they engage our audience, they promote an understanding of the information we want to share and they help people to remember (and recall) the information we are sharing or the points we are making.  This infographic ticks those boxes.

 Depth of exploration

One potential pitfall of infographics however can be their ‘thin’ content.  while colourful imagery and clearly displayed figures make it easier to use and digest important information, it lacks the depth of exploration underpinning the statistics.  infographic 2That said however for engaging readers in ‘opinion’ or challenging their preconceptions Infographics work extremely well,  in addition to encouraging readers to consider the message for relevance, more quickly than a block of text.

For me it was certainly true of the infographic presented.  As a ‘picture’ to both inform and challenge it hit the mark head on.  Had you considered how people were using social media in relation to their healthcare information needs, before viewing this?

Infographics can be criticised in several ways – are there facts are accurate  do the graphics obscure inconsistencies and errors in research.  Do the aesthetics make an argument look more persuasive than it actually is.

One way to overcome this is to invite comment (on this site or the source site ).  To my mind challenging thinking, opening up dialogue and our minds to options is certainly a positive step worth taking.

Easily shared

Infographics can allow us to grab the attention of people who are being distracted by other signals (too busy, to much to do etc), it helps us make quick visual connection to what we want them to ‘listen to’.  Of course for those wanting to ensure a wide spread sharing of their message an infographic work well as it can be easily shared across social networks.  infographic 3At the head of the infographic there is a clear introduction to its relevance to us working in healthcare – our ‘populations’ are using social media to seek information, to share information and to explore options.  A health service that truly wants to listen to the people it services needs to engage with social media in a meaningful way.

infographic 4

This part of the infographic shows how some of the ways social media is being used by healthcare professionals as a way to listen, to share opinion, to guide others and provide information effectively across a potentially vast audience.

I recently did two short introductions to social media (mainly Twitter) – this infographic would have helped convey the message perhaps more succinctly than the presentations I actually used.

Leading by example

Those of us not based in the States may be wondering why this infographic is of relevance to use, after all the stats, the examples given are all American.
infographic - MayoHowever when considering this I looked at who was using social media to engage (e.g The Mayo Clinic) and concluded, if they are using it there has to be merit in it, after all we frequently adopt learning, innovation and technology coming out from such centres of excellence, albeit it a few years later.

Adopting and engaging in social media within and across healthcare doesn’t need to be something we come to years later, it’s here now, it’s available and it has the potential to show we are serious about listening, sharing and engaging with our population in a way they want to engage, not simply via the channels we want them to use.

It is undeniable that social media is changing healthcare and communication about healthcare – the question is one of us face personally and professionally, that our organisations face is: where do we want to be in the curve?


I highly recommend that you visit the source site of this infographic to see it in its ‘end to end’ format i.e. the way it is designed to be viewed follow this link

I’d like to thanks Aldo and the team for sharing this infographic and allowing me to use it.


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