Is Facebook a matter of life or death? For hospitals, yes.

Your hospital is committed to quality care… but do they Like you?  A recent study revealed that patient satisfaction is linked to the number of “likes” a hospital has on Facebook. And in fact, mortality rates increase as “likes” decrease. The study evaluated 82 hospitals within 25 miles of New York City, and used the HHS Hospital Compare site to draw the correlation.

Not all Facebook fans were one-time patients, so reputation certainly has something to do with this – after all, who wants to be a fan of a health system with a bad rap for all their friends to see?

This is part of a growing trend of like-it-or-not transparency, where it’s not about the scores you reveal or post online, it’s the reviews and recommendations publicly given to you when patients post.  The internet is intercepting conversations that used to take place over the fence between neighbors.  You can see exactly what’s being said, and it’s not always pretty.

Whether your hospital wants a popularity boost or you’re shining up a tarnished reputation, here are three strategies for getting back in front of your reviews and reputation online:

Lastly, it’s important to create a culture of support for capturing great content for social media and for asking patients for likes and reviews. Get doctors, nurses and staff on board with your strategy, and extending the patient relationship to reviews and social media properties can become a seamless part of your hospital’s culture.

So now we know Facebook is literally a matter of life or death. That doesn’t mean it has to kill you.  There are some straightforward strategies to identify, attract and engage your fans – you just have to reach out.  What’s next for your organization when it comes to assessing, reacting or asking for fans and reviews?

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