While doing some research for a talk I gave a few weeks ago, I came across a fantastic blog called “Found in the Cache” that examines how hospitals are using the social web.  The blog’s author, Ed Bennett, is tracking which hospitals maintain their are own blogs and have launched presences on Twitter, YouTube and FacebookBelow are the pure numbers:

  • 206 unique hospitals total have some sort of social web presences (one of the items below)
  • 124 have YouTube channels
  • 117 have Twitter Accounts
  • 82  have Facebook pages
  • 22 maintain official Blogs

While Bennett does not claim to have searched for presences for every single hospital (or hospital system) in the United States, to put this number in context there are an estimated 5,000 community hospitals in the U.S.  You can view the raw data of Bennett’s findings here.

Interestingly, Bennett has found that Twitter use by hospitals is growing rapidly, and that it will soon be the most popular social tool for hospitals.  The chart below shows the Twitter growth trend as compared to YouTube.


You can view a list of the most popular hospitals on Twitter here.

In reviewing the actual presences the hospitals created, I found the quality of the accounts to be all over the place.  Some truly great work is being done, such as the Twitter account of Henry Ford Health System, which recently got some press for live tweeting during a brain operation.  Other accounts were clearly experiments, with little activity and interaction.   We’re at the beginning of a trend here, with the hospitals using these tools blazing the trail and establishing best practices for others to follow in the years ahead.

I’m going to keep reading Bennett’s blog, as I think the social web has great potential to help hospitals deepen their relationships with the community’s they serve.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.